1. The first thing I remember is being under something. It was a table, I saw a table leg, I saw the legs of the people, and a portion of the. CHARLES BUKOWSKI HAM ON RYE 2 1 The first thing I remember is being under something. It was a table, I saw a table l. 'In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter.
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Charles Bukowski – Ham on Rye. A couple of days later my mother didn't leave to go job hunting, and it wasn't my day to go to the. In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of al. Editorial Reviews. Review. In an age of conformity, Bukowski wrote about the people nobody Ham On Rye: A Novel - Kindle edition by Charles Bukowski.
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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Charles Bukowski's fourth novel, Ham on Rye, is the semi-autobiographical story of the early years of his alter ego Henry Chinaski.
It is a finely written and honest account of the painful childhood of a boy marked out from his peers. Regularly beaten by his father, Chinaski is shown growing through his difficult and violent adolescence struck with the worst case of acne his doctors have ever seen through to the first jobs he can't and won't hold down.
In this moving story of growing up Bukowski disciplines his muscular, concentrated writing and creates a novel that distils his poetry into the finest full-length piece of prose that he ever wrote.
Bukowski is often good but in Ham on Rye he's great. Sadly, best known as the alcoholic inspiration for the film Barfly an experience he reflected on in his book Hollywood , it is as a poet, rather than a drunk, that Bukowski should be best remembered. His bitter, caustic, direct, humane, damaged poetry reflects a life dominated by poverty and booze.
His poetry stretches over many, many volumes but Bukowski also wrote great novels: Post Office and Factotum both dissect, quite brilliantly, the life of an angry, poor man forced to do mindless jobs, pushed around and considered mindless by the fools who force him to do them.
Women, as Roddy Doyle points out in his short introduction, continues the themes but focuses on the numerous women who share his hero's bed and bottle. Oh, and of course, alcohol.
He notably remarks, after experiencing intoxication for the first time: Unfortunately, the honeymoon is short-lived, and his relationship with alcohol leads to progressively seedier and more violent behavior.
And that was OK with me. Ham on Rye is a brilliant little novel about adolescence. While this story has been told a thousand times before, the narrative voice of our acne'd outsider protagonist is incredibly refreshing. Bukowski's boozy world is one where the outsider is the king protagonist of his own destiny, and it is one that is probably shared with a great deal of young men in their American upbringing. His dysfunctional family echoed my own experiences even though I didn't necessarily have physical punishment, the emotional aspect was spot on.
His feelings on his own existence as an animal and of course, I didn't have the acne problems, but I have myriad others that gave me outsider social status were real. His experiences with young women, school, and trying to make it against all odds professionally and educationally were very familiar to me. While Bukowski may be offensive to most readers, the plain fact of the matter is that his views on life and adolescent sexuality are the exact same ones I had in my youth.
What is the most memorable is the manner in which he tells the story.
He doesn't self-edit. He doesn't leave anything out. He tells us everything about his experiences as they happen. This isn't entirely something that should be described as offensive, but real. A real experience. What it is really like. And while many of us want to find some parochial editorializing when we read, the best part about Bukowski is that that is simply not in his novels. I first read his work when I was eighteen or nineteen years old.
Now that I am thirty-five, picking up HOR again has left me with a reading experience that was much different since I have had a great deal more life experience and perspective. Looking at this book today, I have found a hilarious, beautiful, tragic, and exciting narrative about living as an outsider in America.
Paperback Verified Purchase. The events of this book precede Post Office and detail Bukowski's childhood. This is raw and emotional, bleak and hard to take at times but Bukowski is so open and honest you can't tear your eyes off of him. This was reality fiction before reality TV. An ugly teenager without social skills, a father who seems to despise him and a mother almost as pitiful as the author.
The reader eventually follows Chinaski to college and reads of Henry's attempt to find a worthwhile occupation. Like his previous autobiographical novels, Ham on Rye centers on the life of Henry Chinaski, this time during his childhood and teenage years.
Throughout the course of the novel, Bukowski develops his misanthropic anti-hero character that is seen in his other works like Post Office and Hollywood. Chinaski, growing up poor in Los Angeles during the Great Depression, is shown developing into a sarcastic loner.
This stems in large part from his home life, in which he is beaten frequently often for no reason by his father. He becomes alienated from the children at school simply for somehow being different in a way that none of them could ever coherently articulate.
The post-facto rationalizations they concoct for their hostility, however, involve his inability to play sports and his being viscerally revolted by cruelty to animals, the latter being one of the favorite past-times of neighborhood men and boys alike. The grotesque-looking boils of his acne vulgaris will eventually turn their excuses for hating him into an ostracizing trifecta.
Chinaski has been compared to both Frankenstein's monster and Kafka 's Gregor Samsa , because of his alienation and outcast resulting from his "monstrous" appearance. However, he rarely is completely confident with his own abilities and often second-guesses himself.
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