P D Dawson
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski (Short Book Review)
It's hard to define or summarise this book, for it is full of so many contrasts, from lowbrow to literary, that one finds it hard to know whether to love or loath the mind who brought it to paper. It's perhaps no secret that Bukowski is a master at capturing the lowlife of America, but here in the many random stories grouped together in this book, you feel this is a chance to see the many sides to his personality and sensibilities. Throughout there is a sense of carelessness, a frozen spirit willing to accept the shit as it falls, as if there were no choice, as if to change it would be sacrilegious, or you sense that there is a belief that if you dodge one mishap, you're merely steering yourself into another. And so through these stories there is a journey of a man unwilling to work for a living, but somehow getting by, and getting pieces of ass along the way. And though that sounds crude, there is a soul, a gentle spirit, a likability to this attitude that is both endearing and satisfying. We perhaps gain a little understanding of the antihero, for the fuck the world attitude is almost blissfully sweet as we are given permission to vicariously live through his eyes, and perhaps wonder which notes are fictitious, and which holds grains of truth.