Bukowski on Women
Man, Mouse or Misogynist
Much as I enjoy Bukowski's writing, his style, his verve, his sheer damn it all to hell honesty, I dislike the showy book Women, Henry Miller made a far greater fist of it, (no pun insinuated).
Bukowski preens in grand peacock style, displaying his mistrust of the fairer sex. The great rebel had an allergy of sorts, to vagina, and often mistook sexploitation for freedom. Not quite the noble urban savage I had imagined, a fine and austere writer, truly compassionate in many ways, but a touch of Schadenfreude when it came to the opposite sex! Bukowski - the predator - revels (sympathetically of course) in the misfortunes of his prey.
The obsessive neatness of his prose now begins to worry me, where before I was all in favour. Is this sparse syntax a sock in the eye of the bourgeoisie, or is it just primness after all? Bukowski famously hated literary verbiage, he despised adjectives. He liked his sentences, neat, clipped, punchy, devoid of ornament. Was this a manly stride through the white picket fence of so-called, 'honesty' or was it just plain OCD?
Shame about this retarded book. Then again - you could argue - Bukowski's great gift was his willingness to lay bare his flawed and weatherbeaten humanity. ( Orange Alice on a literary roll!)
And the verdict? Well, there's the usual irresistible lavishness, some dazzling displays, but the theme sucks. Usual stuff, men hating women, tedious portrayal of Chinaski (Bukowski of course) whose sexploits are as thrilling as watching the antics of a flasher at a bus shelter. Your instinct is to glance the other way, politely.
Bukowski shows (along with his genitals), his utter boredom with life, with women, and most of all with himself. A pessimistic view of relationships, and a strong streak of Germanic puritanism.
I'm still an admirer, nevertheless. RIP Buk.