#97 – Women, Charles Bukowski BOOK REVIEW

November 5, 2018
krauserpua

Women

You have probably noticed how daily soap operas on TV, such as Eastenders, are very different to the ‘premium cable’ such as The Wire or Game of Thrones. It isn’t just that “Eastenders is shit” [1] but there are specific stylistic differences in narrative arcs and character development. The big one is this: soap operas don’t have character development.

The reason everyone in Eastenders seems so fucking stupid is not because the writers are incapable of plotting character arcs. It’s that the format demands there not be any. For Eastenders to remain familiar, non-threatening, and easy to dip in and out of, it’s imperative that the characters never learn from their mistakes. Every morning, they wake up exactly the same person they were the day before, month before, year before.

Mainstream series like The Simpsons are even more noticeably static. At least Eastenders has plot arcs that run several weeks, and the circumstances of a character’s life can be permanently altered such as by marriage, death, or merely taking a new vacancy at the cafe or market stall. The Simpsons resets at the end of every episode as if nothing transfers from short-term to long-term memory. I think Ned Flanders never even changes the colour of his sweater [2]

Premium cable is all about redemption, disgrace, elevation, learning…. the characters learn and develop.

I bring this up because Charles Bukowski’s Women is like Eastenders. His alter-ego Hank Chinaski doesn’t learn a single damn thing through his 106 chapters. He ends the book the same drunken degenerate loser as he begins, with nothing different in his life. He’s taken a few more flights to deliver poetry readings, banged a handful of girls, and drank an awful lot of beer but he’s the same man. Simply older.

It’s deliberate, I think. Bukowski once said, “to do a dull thing with style, now that’s what I call art.” That describes this book. Nothing happens. He gets up, has a shit, drinks some beer, falls asleep, sits in a chair with friends, and maybe has a woman come over. That’s it – 304 pages of a nihilistic loser doing nothing all day. Somehow, Bukowski’s prose is so good that it remains compelling the whole way through. [3] You can really see the poet in him. The sentence structure, cadence, and variety is fantastic. He implies so much more meaning and colour than is present in the words.

I think it’s important to make the distinction between Bukowski the writer and Chinaski the character. Obviously the latter is a fictionalisation of the former but don’t let the book’s gritty first-person viewpoint con you into thinking this is a memoir. It’s fiction. Bukowski said as much in an interview I watched on YouTube. It’s a carefully-woven tapestry of good Bottom-World stories, some he experienced himself, others were related to him, and all embellished. How much? No idea. It’s like reading Sven Hassel. Actually, even the narrative structure is a lot like Sven Hassel, now I think about it. Disjointed, random thoughts and sudden jumps without transition, meant to express the subject’s own disorientation.

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+1, solid 8

The women are awful. Chinaski is a magnet for damaged women, mostly whores. Some are literally whores, others are retired whores, and many just might as well be whores. Almost all are on drugs. Every anecdote begins with “Tammy/Arlene/Sara/Iris knocked at my door. She was on pills.” Several have BPD, the most dramatic of which is his first girlfriend Lydia who is the poster girl for BPD single-mother slutty whackjob much discussed on MGTOW sites. I wanted to kill her. Chinaski just takes all her bullshit, making me furious, but I think that’s the point. Bukowski wants the reader to hate Lydia and feel contempt for Chinaski’s weakness.

I only watched a few episodes of Californication but it seems Hank Moody is based on Chinaski. Both live in LA, are popular writers, always drinking, and inexplicable pussy magnets for worthless women. I remember when it was all the rage in PUA circles to “learn from Hank Moody’s game”, which struck me as utterly retarded. For starters, who learns about how the world works from fictional characters? Do you learn science from Star Trek, or martial arts from Bruce Lee movies? If you do, you’re a retard. The female characters in Californication are written to throw themselves at Hank. It’s part of the plot.

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“I think women lie more than men.”

The same thing happens in Women. Chinaski never actually seduces any women. They just seem to show up. The first few times it’s at poetry readings. He seems to have minor celebrity already as he gets free flights and $500 speaking fee for an hour’s work, and promoters say shows are oversubscribed. At a handful of after-parties, a woman will throw herself at him. Another few times fans write to him and then go visit, throwing themselves at him. Another time two German teenagers show up at his door – on drugs, of course.

There are no descriptions that, in a modern PUA sense, would allow us to divine any kind of attraction, comfort, or seduction. These are girls who are DTF from the moment they enter the story.

I get why PUAs think Bukowski has something to teach about Game, but I disagree. It’s a fictional world and even within it, the women are all dreadful quality. Even the rare few who aren’t whores or middle-aged are still pill-popping sluts. Chinaski comes across as a degenerate, self-hating mess. When I watched a Bukowski interview from 1987 on YouTube he actually came across as humble, and likeable. The writer is more likeable than his character.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this. Rarely has reading about nothing at all been so interesting.

If you’d like memoirs based on stories that really happened, the birds were hot, and there’s clear character development then try my memoirs available here. Just don’t expect writing talent on a par with Bukowski.

[1] Or, “there are no more cockneys in the East End since the third world migrant horde invaded and overran London. God, I can’t wait till they are all deported and the traitors are executed.”
[2] That’s a guess. I know Marge keeps the same haircut. But then again, so does my mum.
[3] No intention plus obstacle, either. No plot at all. Just one thing happening after another.

6 Comments

  1. Yes, I find this a big problem. When guys talk about the bird they get, we all imagine some sublime creature.

    But the more I get around, the more I see that especially the guys with the Pariah Jerk Game get low quality women that feel all they deserve is to be abused.

    I find the higher Dark Triad, the lower quality woman the guy gets.

    And it’s a mess. Unless we know the quality of women a guy is attracting, we can’t really judge how “effective” his game is.

    To me, a guy who sleeps with 1 young HB8 in 3 months of street work is a superior human being and has better game than a dude who sleeps with 12 ‘HB’ 5s in 90 days.

    More and more, I find that quality and the feminine energy of a girl give me a MUCH stronger pleasure, joy and satisfaction than sleeping with dozens of grotty masculine girls. Well, except if they have big firm round boobs. Then I’ll make an exception 😉

  2. Hey Krauser,
    Thanks for that review, im a huge Bukowski fan. I know its fiction, it just feels so authentic, and very funny in parts. How could anyone be such a degenerate, and look themselves in the mirror . Factotum is his first novel and is also fantastic. Take care.

    • One more thing Krauser, you might want to checkout the movie “barfly”, if you already havent. Mickey Rourke stars and Scorcese directs, faye dunaway also! Deliciously bottom world!

  3. Screenplay is based on bukowski.

  4. I read Women over 10 years ago, but never quite noticed that bit you mentioned about women literally throwing themselves at the hero.

    Bukowski has wrecked many innocent souls, mine included, who read him and thought he’d have the answers on how to get poon.
    Me and my peers at least, grew up thinking there’s only three ways to get a woman: a) be a pretty boy, b) be upper class, rich, and popular in the right social circles, and c) be a famous alcoholic poet who lives day by day and doesn’t give a fuck who he’s sleeping with, as long as she puts out. All three options require no effort on your part, so if you’re not getting poon, you’re thinking life is unfair and you’re jinxed.

    Game literally saved my life and helped me overcome depression and a million other ills.

  5. The only thing it taught me about game is that pre selection as an artist gets you laid, but doesn’t fix your life.

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