Pulp - Was Bukowski on his way to fiction? (1 Viewer)

Charlie

Founding member
Besides his short stories, as far as I know, Bukowski never wrote any fiction. It was all semi-autobiographical stuff. But Pulp, which was of course his last novel, was a work of fiction.

Was he going to do more of this? 'Cause, hell, I think he kind of ran out of stories anyhow.
 

mjp

Founding member
You know, I don't care for Pulp, so I would hope he was not going in that direction. I've wondered whether he was saving the idea of Pulp for the end, or whether he just did it organically. Had he been healthy I don't think Pulp would have been his next novel. But that's just speculation, obviously.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
i think Pulp was destined to be his last novel. there are numerous innuendos and characteristics of him being so close to death. and if you can't tell that by the ending of the book, then we havent read the same Pulp.
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
I think mjp was saying that if Bukowski hadn't been so ill and really knowing what his prognosis was, then he wouldn't have written Pulp when he did. I think it can only ever be interpreted as not only a last novel but really as a conclusion to a career and perhaps a message from Bukowski to many who knew him - either personally or through his writing. Maybe even a personal critique-cum-epitaph-cum-eulogy. If that's possible...

I certainly think its an odd book. I started my Bukowski habit with a novel - Factotum - and read all I could afterwards, enjoying both fiction and poetry. But I was surprised and perhaps confused by Pulp, the way its written - the pastiche, the themes and the characters. I know I was disappointed by the ending. It sort of fizzled out (like life?). I've read it several times over the years, and while I can't say as mjp did, I don't care for it, it's definitely far from a favourite. I'm sure I'll read it again, as in some ways its tells part of the whole story - like Charlie says, Bukowski's writing is at least partly autobiographical - even if, as we speculate elsewhere - many of these autobiographical tales are more myth than fact. He may not be called Chinaski, but there's still some Buk in Belane.

I'm not sure whether Bukowski achieved what he set out to do - who could know that? And its easy to read lots of things into it about how Bukowski felt about his life, impending death and his image and career.

BTW : I have to say that although I also think that Bukowski's writing is partly autobiographical, I would still say his other novels can be seen as Fiction. And outside of those he wrote so many great (and often off-the-wall) short stories, I couldn't agree that he was "on his way to fiction". He'd always been able to create great fiction, even if he drew heavily on his own mad experiences and those of other people he'd encountered.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mjp

Founding member
hank solo said:
I have to say that although I also think that Bukowski's writing is partly autobiographical, I would still say his other novels can be seen as Fiction. And outside of those he wrote so many great (and often off-the-wall) short stories, I couldn't agree that he was "on his way to fiction". He'd always been able to create great fiction, even if he drew heavily on his own mad experiences and those of other people he'd encountered.
Yeah, I would agree with this. He was always a fiction writer, to a certain extent.

I'll have to try Pulp again. I only read it once, and that was over a decade ago (jesus christ!!) so maybe it's time.
 

Charlie

Founding member
I kind of liked Pulp. I knew it was fiction, so I wasn't really "looking" for that style. But you know what Pulp's fast pace kind of reminds me of? Journey to the End of the Night. Coincidence? Probably not, concidering Celine is a main character.

Personally, I liked it. It got repeditive, but christ the dialouge is hilarious.
 

cirerita

Founding member
I've only read it once and I didn't dislike it. I had read some many negative reviews and even B saying it was some sort of experiment, that he didn't know where the novel was taking him, that I did expect some shitty piece of writing, the delusions of an old man who no longer had it... but it hit me as a pretty hilarious -almost surreal at times- novel where you find most B leit motifs, only Chinaski is not there.

And it's a great tribute to Martin.

It's time I upload the letter where he puts Martin down... so another myth is dispelled!
 
Yeah, I suppose the question is -- like the thread's subject -- was this an indication of a new writing direction for Buk?

It's been on my mind a bit lately, having watched the Buk Tapes, that his life had improved so markedly since he married Linda and moved into nice digs, enjoyed a vastly improved diet and reduced his binges dramatically that his motivation to write must surely have changed.

Had the bitterness and anger of the hard years abated to the extent that he was toying around for new subjects and style?

Or, again, was it the result of a terminal prognosis and maybe even the effect of palliative drugs? I don't know nearly enough about his condition and care in his final days to form an opinion on that.
 
You know, I don't care for Pulp, so I would hope he was not going in that direction. I've wondered whether he was saving the idea of Pulp for the end, or whether he just did it organically. Had he been healthy I don't think Pulp would have been his next novel. But that's just speculation, obviously.

I think it was a very good metaphor for the end of his life summed up into one little novel.
 
I really liked Pulp & like it better than some other like Factotum & Ham on Rye, Hollywood I like a lot, also.

I really like pulp fiction as a genre so I may be prejudiced. I think it was a nice book to say goodbye with.
 
I really liked Pulp & like it better than some other like Factotum & Ham on Rye, Hollywood I like a lot, also.

I just bought Factotum and Ham on Rye today. Couldn't find Post Office or Hollywood anywhere. Although bookshops' computers showed they supposedly had inventory, the books were not on the shelves nor in the stock reserves. I think they are being stolen, damnit!

Had to put both titles on special order.

I really like pulp fiction as a genre so I may be prejudiced. I think it was a nice book to say goodbye with.

I like the 'hard boiled' stories of Chandler, Goodis, et al, and I love the noir genre movies of 40's and early 50s - have quite a collection of them on DVD.

But Pulp didn't quite cut it for me in that respect.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top