From the self-illustrated, unpublished work written in 1947 to hardboiled contributions to 1980s adult magazines, The Bells Tolls for No One presents the entire range of Bukowski's talent as a short story writer, from straight-up genre stories to postmodern blurring of fact and fiction.Read more...
From the self-illustrated, unpublished work written in 1947 to hardboiled contributions to 1980s adult magazines, The Bells Tolls for No One presents the entire range of Bukowski's talent as a short story writer, from straight-up genre stories to postmodern blurring of fact and fiction. An informative introduction by editor David Stephen Calonne provides historical context for these seemingly scandalous and chaotic tales, revealing the hidden hand of the master at the top of his form.
"The uncollected gutbucket ramblings of the grand dirty old man of Los Angeles letters have been gathered in this characteristically filthy, funny compilation ... Bukowkski's gift was a sense for the raunchy absurdity of life, his writing a grumble that might turn into a belly laugh or a racking cough but that always throbbed with vital energy."Kirkus Reviews
Born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, Charles Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he would eventually publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose. He died of leukemia in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994.
David Stephen Calonne is the author of several books and has edited three previous collections of the uncollected work of Charles Bukowski for City Lights: Absence of the Hero, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, and More Notes of a Dirty Old Man.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Bukowski is an acquired taste, and this set of fiction stories from three sources—his underground newspaper column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man,” short pornographic pieces written for adult magazines, and miscellaneous short stories, some previously unpublished—will do little to expand his readership. Bukowski’s world is hostile, full of runaway dysfunction, and populated by alcoholics, gamblers, adulterers, and abusers, all with few, if any, redeeming qualities. And to underscore the distance between these lives and the those of his readers, Bukowski’s characters come with no backstories and no elaborate psychologies; rather they are men and women motivated by unseen compulsions, simple boredom, and fatalistic unhappiness. It is Bukowski’s embrace of this world, his insistence on its validity if not its value, that makes him unique. Readers should be warned that many of the stories are difficult to read for their depiction of sadism and sexual violence. Still, Bukowski can be honest and direct, and he is capable of embedding meaningful observations in the most sordid of stories. (Aug.)