The uncollected gutbucket ramblings of the grand dirty old man of Los Angeles letters have been gathered in this characteristically filthy, funny compilation.
Bukowski's autobiographical novels (More Notes of a Dirty Old Man, 2011, etc.) often read as a series of strung-together episodes and scatological anecdotes. So the brevity of the pieces collected here, some no more than two or three pages, suit Bukowski well. A majority of the stories appeared as the column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” in the LA Free Press. Others, which ran in Oui and Hustler, represent perhaps the final gasp of a literary tradition that began in the 1950s and ’60s when the raunchier skin magazines were open to work by established writers. To the uninitiated, Bukowski can seem off-puttingly vulgar. And while you can detect a wounded romantic beneath the Lothario, Bukowski’s alter egos were not gents when it came to women. Best to think of his work as a series of dirty Road Runner cartoons in which Bukowski is the coyote taking one damn kick in the pants—front- and backside—after another. At its worst (the hijack fantasy “Fly the Friendly Skies”), Bukowski’s sensibility is ugly and coarse. But when he is swinging, there is a companionable ease to his blunt, profane vernacular.
Bukowski’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.