Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pulp by Charles Bukowski

This is Bukowski's last novel, but the first one that I read. I remember seeing it out on a table at The Strand and being drawn to the striking cover. I'd heard of Charles Bukowski, though I didn't know much about him, but I decided to check it out.

Pulp is a strange introduction to his work—definitely not characteristic of the bulk of his novels and stories. It's more of an homage to classic detective fiction like Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler, with quite a few literary references—the main character, Nick Belane, is asked to find the author Celine, whom Bukowski has called "the greatest writer of the last 2,000 years"; he's also hired by a man named John Barton to find the Red Sparrow (undoubtedly a salute to his Black Sparrow publisher John Martin), and visited by two thugs named Dante and Fante (after Dante Alighieri and John Fante). Bukowski died shortly after writing this book so perhaps this was his idea of a farewell and salute to his literary heroes.

I don't actually remember much about reading it but I certainly liked it enough to keep reading more of his books. But maybe it's not generally the best place to start.

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