Bukowski's final novel is a slightly surreal pastiche of the classic Mickey Spillane, Chandleresque private dick novel. Nick Belane, is a lonely, middle-aged, egotistical, alcoholic private detective who is badly in need of some lucrative work, but what he gets is a series of increasingly strange assignments from a bizarre collection of clients. He is asked to track down the long-dead French classical author Celine and an elusive red sparrow. He encounters aliens, heavies and even lady Death herself along the way. All the while Belane is convincing himself that he's still a white-hot detective and that nobody can take him for a ride, or indeed make him feel he's losing his mind. Boozing heavily and trying to avoid getting beaten up in every bar along the way, he finally reaches the conclusion that he's washed up. Bukowski's deliberately overdone writing takes us on a fantastical ride through the dark corners and dodgy dealings of Belane's film-noir world with guns, broads and heavyset thugs. A great demonstration of Bukowski's imaginative talents.
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Charles Bukowski was one of America's best-known writers and one of its most influential and imitated poets. His Beat Generation writing reflects his slum upbringing, his succession of menial jobs and his experience of low-life urban America. He died in 1994 and is widely acknowledged as one of the most distinctive writers of the last fifty years.From Publishers Weekly:
Always the iconoclast striving for a kind of literary raunch, the internationally acclaimed Bukowski ( Ham on Rye ), who died recently, leaves us with this spoof of the hardboiled detective genre, featuring an L.A.-based private investigator named Nick Belane. As the title makes clear, this novel is dedicated to bad writing, and readers who choose to ignore this warning and plunge ahead will soon know why. A spoof should be funnier and sharper than what it is spoofing but, compared to Hammett and Chandler, Pulp is quite simply trash. In the opening pages, Belane is paid a visit by a lady in red named Lady Death, who turns out to be death itself looking for the French author Celine, who should have died a long time ago but hasn't. Belane's search for Celine leads him to some space aliens who have assumed human shape, and to some juvenile encounters with an unhappily married couple. Along the way, every woman he meets is a dish, and every man is a dumb thug. In every bar he visits, Belane is mistaken for somebody else, a mistake which invariably erupts in a murderous brawl. The prose is practically nonexistent, and you can forget character. All that's left is humor and philosophy, but Belane's humor is all bathroom and his philosophy can be summed up in the lines, "I wasn't dead yet, just in a state of rapid decay. Who wasn't?" Bukowski has taken the worst of the PI genre, stripped it bare, and added nothing but a dose of adolescent posturing. It's sad thatBukowski has left as his parting gesture a book so weak and thin.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Virgin Books, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P111852272007