Off lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking for quotes/authors/write-ups to get inspired, or maybe I am just trying to hide from all the pending tasks? I don’t know. After a lot of scrolling, I found one intriguing expert from the book “Post Office” by Charles Bukowski. It’s his very first novel, written at the age of 50. I decided to read it on a wimp.
Post Office (Review)
Trigger warning: Rape and Misogyny
“After dinner or lunch or whatever it was—with my crazy 12-hour night, I was no longer sure what was what—I said, “Look, baby, I’m sorry, but don’t you realize that this job is driving me crazy? Look, let’s give it up. Let’s just lay around and make love and take walks and talk a little. Let’s go to the zoo. Let’s look at animals. Let’s drive down and look at the ocean. It’s only 45 minutes. Let’s play games in the arcades. Let’s go to the races, the Art Museum, the boxing matches. Let’s have friends. Let’s laugh. This kind of life is like everybody else’s kind of life: it’s killing us.”
The Post Office is a story of Henry (Hank) Chinaski – the fictional alter ego of Charles Bukowski. Henry heard from some drunk that the U.S. Postal Service was hiring about anyone, so it began as a mistake. Joined as a sub, after three years, was made a regular. As time passed, the work got more manageable, but somehow, Henry was not happy, so he decided to quit. Little did he know, in two years, he would be back here for nearly 12 years.
After quitting, Henry indulges in racecourse betting and an overflowing amount of booze. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Betty gets a job and supports them both. Soon society gets to Betty and makes her believe that it is okay for a woman to live off a man’s wealth, but not the other way around. And in the aftermath, she leaves him. Soon he meets a wealthy nymphomaniac – Joyce. He marries her, and to prove to the world that Hank is not after her money, Joyce asks him to get a job. And that’s how he ends up working at the U.S. Postal Service again.
Hank has multiple relationships, but none stay – some are good riddance, and some are bittersweet goodbyes. From what I read and understood, this book is a somewhat satirical take on 9-5 jobs, society’s expectations, and at times how hazardous it can be.
What I loved about this book was the simplicity of the prose. The language is plain and straightforward, and no big words are used to describe something very banal. Once the story picks up, you start hoping for the character, and I was somewhat happy with the ending.
The only downside of the book is that – Henry is a misogynist pig. He repeatedly abuses women and spews racial slurs, and some things he has done gave me chills.
However, this book left an impression on me (big time) because of its theme and simplicity. I wouldn’t ask you to overlook the Misogyny in the book, but if you can look past it, this one is worth a read. I am still unsure if I like it or hate it. Since the Post Office is a semi-autobiography of sorts, I have decided not to rate it because who am I to judge? You can get the book here! 📖
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