The main character, Henry Chinaski, is awesome. I say that 'awesome' in the correct way - 'inspiring awe'. I stopped to wonder: is he a decent bloke? Do I hate him because of his sexism/disrespect? Is he a hero for not backing down against another wave of life's mundane tidal wave of crap? Is he a coward for relying too much on the bottle? Well, for those of you who like bland, general understatements, he's a flawed genius (much like the author).
And just to resolve the above 'conflict' a bit further, I think I do like HC. I sympathise with the 'underdog vs life' scenario. I 'get' his use of alcohol as a coping mechanism and somewhat admire his skills as a postman. The gambling and the sexism I mentally sweep under the carpet, as we all do with people we know.
So I really enjoyed the book overall. It was a really quick, easy read, but a lot 'went on' in the narrative. What's more the potency of the writing (like at the end of chapter ten, the summary of Betty's funeral - despite repeating a lot of detail - has this haiku-like punch to it), along with it's clever form (the variation in size of the paragraphs makes the reading, I dunno, more living. Like sometimes a short paragraph reflects a busy period for HC, so it mirrors the fact he doesn't have time to go into more detail), makes it something I'd recommend to almost anyone. For some people it'd be because I like them and appreciate that they like a good, entertaining read. For others, it'd be because they're Lilly-livered, vacuous, moronic, comfort-driven, mother-loving, nice-hot-water-bottle-on-a-mild-day-ing, innocent, modern-music-adoring, rom-com-watching (Sean of the Dead obviously excepted), baby-cuddling, unaware, greeting-card-faced, bubble-bath-drinking, salad-humping, button-nosed, vitamin-taking, tea-sniffing, nipple-grating, sock-washing, trend-following amoeba who need to be shaken up violently like the proverbial bird in its cage.
Oh how I love to shake caged birds... The thought of it gets me all... Ooh...
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