The Best Collection of Buk's Short Stories

jmoshea

Over 100 posts
OK, I am ashamed of myself...

I've read all the novels and quite a bit of his poetry. But can you tell me where to start to get into Buk's short stories?

I tried and failed to find a thread that specifically addresses this question...I know I must be forum-challenged

Is it Tales of Ordinary Madness?
 

hank solo

Just practicin' steps and keepin' outta the fights
Moderator
Founding member
Over 1000 posts
I'd say 'South of No North' has some of his best shorts. 'The Most Beautiful Woman in Town' and 'Tales of Ordinary Madness' are pretty close behind, and probably in that order. Then 'Hot Water Music'. Then there's the shorts collected in 'Septuagenarian Stew' and 'Betting the Muse'. Then there's 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man' too. I've probably missed something out.

Okay, I don't think I can pick the best order. But 'South...' gets my vote.
 

jmoshea

Over 100 posts
excellent, Hank. I appreciate the help...

I'll start with 'South of No North' and go from there.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Over 5000 posts
I would put Septaugenarian Stew, 1990 up there. Keep in mind I have not read 'The Most Beautiful Woman in Town' which has been mentioned in this forum before.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
I'd say 'South of No North' has some of his best shorts. 'The Most Beautiful Woman in Town' and 'Tales of Ordinary Madness' are pretty close behind, and probably in that order. Then 'Hot Water Music'. Then there's the shorts collected in 'Septuagenarian Stew' and 'Betting the Muse'. Then there's 'Notes of a Dirty Old Man' too. I've probably missed something out.

Okay, I don't think I can pick the best order. But 'South...' gets my vote.
I would suggest that order too! - Notes is great too...
 

poptop

Over 500 posts
Septuagenarian Stew and Hot Water Music are for me Bukowski at his mature best in the short story... relaxed and masterful! His imagination is effortless, wild and there's not one misplaced word. He's having a ball. But I love some of his early stories too, such as The Great Zen Wedding (from Tales...), and All the Assholes in the World and Mine (on his hemorrhoid surgery, in South... - hilarious). His stories investigating the criminal mind, such things as rape and murder, are powerful but I've never wanted to reread them again. If I was going to murder someone, I wouldn't need any help to imagine my own twisted possibilities. We're probably all incipient criminals under the right circumstances if pushed, driven or greedy enough.
 
south of no north is ,in my opinion,is his greatest collection of stories. "the way the dead love" is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece and "all the assholes in the wold and mine" is easily Buk's funniest story. When you read "Tales of....." look out for "a dollar and 20 cent" I think it is one of his greats.
 

roni

Over 5000 posts
'South of No North' is really great.

Maybe though, it could be interesting to first read 'Tales' and 'Most beautiful', which originally made the collection 'Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness', which was the first collection of Buk's short-stories.

You clearly see how he developed in the short time from 'Erections' to 'South'.

'Notes' is a fantastic book, but not all of it is short-stories. There are a lot of essays and gerneral ramblings in it, since it was his weekly column.
 
Betting on the Muse has some great ones, but I'm going to have to go with Hot Water Music. It is, in my opinion, Bukowski at his funniest (save perhaps Post Office), and his most ghoulish. Which is always a good thing.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
Over 1000 posts
Man...am I the only one that LOVES loves loves the story LESS DELICATE THAN THE LOCUST?
 

CarversDog

RIP
Over 500 posts
I would have to go with "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town", mostly for the back-to-back pairing of "The Fiend" and "The Murder of Ramon Vasquez" near the back of the book. The editor from City Lights did a terrific job archiving and arranging the stories (the same can be said for "Tales of Ordinary Madness", also from City Lights). A lot of laymen do not understand how much artistry goes into the editors job. I don't find the same level of editorial mastery in many of the Black Sparrow collections (Go ahead, start throwing your stones now).
 

chronic

old and in the way
Over 1000 posts
I would have to go with "The Most Beautiful Woman in Town", mostly for the back-to-back pairing of "The Fiend" and "The Murder of Ramon Vasquez" near the back of the book. The editor from City Lights did a terrific job archiving and arranging the stories (the same can be said for "Tales of Ordinary Madness", also from City Lights).
Put them both together and you get Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
Over 5000 posts
I think it'll be a tie between Erections and South Of No North. Both of them have some great stories...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top