this week's review

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cover: women, by charles bukowski Women
by Charles Bukowski

"...An improvement on life."
definition of fiction, p. 197

There's Lydia, Lilly, April, Dee Dee, Nicole, Mindy, and Laura. Joannna, Tammie, Mercedes, Liza, and the two German girls who drop in unannounced: Hilda and Gertrude. There's Cassie, Debra, Jessie, Iris, Valerie, Valencia, Sara, and Tonya. They are students, pick-ups, groupies, trueloves, and casual encounters--the women of the title.

In the guise of his alter ego Henry Chinaski, Buk pukes 11 times (usually in the morning), doing much to deglamourize his often heroically-portrayed drinking. Most of these occur early on in the book, during the writing of Post Office, a time when it's been 4 years since he's been with a woman. The emphasis quickly shifts from regurgitation to penetration as the author meets Lydia at his first poetry reading and begins to make up for lost time.

Lydia draws him a diagram to illustrate the ins and outs of cunnilingus. At over 50, Bukowski is an eager student and plies his new skill 7 times throughout the book. By comparison, he himself is on the receiving end of oral pleasure this many times: 5.

Fucks: 43. Most of them successful, although sometimes he is too drunk to get it up, falls asleep, or something intervenes. These scenes are more comic than erotic, related with the same deadpan wit and detachment used to describe opening a beer (which, unlike the fucks, are too numerous to count, along with the scotch, wine, whisky and weed).

Those are the numbers, provided as a service to you Bukowski scholars. For the wit, art, and humanity, read the story.

Special thanks to Sarah, who read the book right after I did and compiled these statistics.

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