Picture of the Day
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December 7, 2002

                                not get it via amazon? unless, of
                                course, you have a local bookshop or
                                library to support... 5 years ago today i bought my first digital camera so i could photograph Uz Jsme Doma at the Knitting Factory in New York City. i've been doing this on-and-off chronicle ever since. today, life was sweet. sold a bunch of stuff in the morning, then spent a lot of time on the couch reading Pulp by Charles Bukowski. i first picked this up a year ago and didn't like it. i think that's because i'd just read his powerful autobiographical novels post office and ham on rye and wanted more of the same. pulp, his last novel, was completed shortly before his death in 1994 and is more a work of fantasy--an absurd detective tale written in classic hardboiled private eye style. it's a pageturner, and i'd love to turn it into a movie. it starts when Lady Death hires private dick Nick Belane to ascertain the identity of someone she thinks is Celine, who has somehow escaped her grasp. Bukowski's Celine is hilarious, a master of the put-down. more clients follow, in the best film noir tradition, but with bizarre and humorous twists. Belane's association with Lady Death proves beneficial a number of times, but it is not without its price. I couldn't put this down and the ending is a gutwrencher. Running gags like Belane's "high" fee ($6 an hour) and his inability to get served in bars without a hassle prove Buk's masterful comic touch, while slice of life digressions take the reader places few writers go. for instance, a space alien laments: "The earth. Smog, murder, the poisoned air, the poisoned water, the poisoned food, the hatred, the hopelessness, everything. The only beautiful thing about the earth is the animals and now they are being killed off, soon they will be gone except for pet rats and race horses. It's so sad, no wonder you drink so much." dedicated to "bad writing," pulp is anything but.

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