Review: Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski

Some people have no idea what they’re talking about when they review this book. Beware of those who say the book was bigoted or that all the stories seemed the same. This tells you something about the reader – not the book. Every raw inch of Hot Water Music is intentional and calculated. Bukowski was a genius and it shows through his use of raw, stripped-down, brutal language which mimics the bare, purposeless world which Bukowski is attempting to describe. Many of the stories have similar themes: booze, sex, the track; however, each story has a unique “real life” story to tell, many of which were probably based on Bukowski’s own personal history (but for more of this, you might want to check out his early works, such as Ham on Rye). Bukowski is obviously a cynic and evokes all that is wrong, dirty, and typically unspoken. Neither his prose nor his subjects are flowery because life is not flowery for the majority of people – we see these things happen every day, and there is a bizarre beauty and achievement in what Bukowski does and says, simply by shoving the real right in front of our faces.

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