Post Office


A cat in a weater and bow looks out a window. Beside her, a copy of Post Office with a blue cover sits on the ground.

Christmas Time is Here

As I write this, I’m actually watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the kick-off to of the holiday season for many people. Our decorations went up at the start of November, but for us this is definitely the time where we start to work on the logistics of Christmas. Our trip to our hometown draws closer and budgets and planning have to be done so we can determine what we can and can’t afford to do for our own celebrations.

It’s like I woke up this morning and realized that we only have about a month and then Christmas will be here. I love the preparations but nothing quite beats Christmas morning when everything is done and you just get to sit back and enjoy it. For now, I’m going to sit back and enjoy all of the ridiculousness of the parade. I’m eagerly awaiting the parade that we really look forward to, The Original Santa Claus Parade, because even though we left the city behind years ago, I never really left it entirely.

A tortoiseshell cat looks out a window. She is wearing a candy-cane stripped bow and a red-collared sweater.

Writing Style and Humour

Post Office is an autobiographical novel about Bukowski’s time in the US Postal Service, working as a mail carrier and, later, a mail sorter. Despite being technically listed as a ‘memoir’, it’s pretty obvious that not all of it is even subjective truth. Regardless, the novel covers a lot more than simply life in the post office in its winding and tangential narrative.

A cat's tail brushes the top of a book. The book's back cover is up, with a picture of Charles Bukowski in black-and-white on it.

The cover of my Ecco edition of Charles Bukowski’s Post Office has a quote from Uncut proclaiming this novel “one of the funniest books ever written.” I’m not sure I’d go that far. There are definitely very hilarious moments in the book. I laughed out loud a few times. But the funniest? No, I wouldn’t go that far.

A copy of Post Office lies beside a cat. The cover shows a postal worker sorting mail.

That being said, Bukowski’s writing style absolutely lends itself to humour. He knows how to turn a phrase and how to construct sentences that keep the reader going both with their impact as well as their clarity. It’s very easy to read one of Bukowski’s books in a single session and it’s almost relaxing to do so. Bukowski has depth but is light on the complexity making his work a succession of quick, decently enjoyable reads. I qualify the enjoyable because there’s my next point to consider.

A Whole Lot of Warnings

Bukowski is not for the faint of heart, and he is certainly not writing for any kind of female or enlightened audience. He is a misanthropic, misogynist, white, straight, cisgendered male and this is the lens through which he views the world. The c-word rears its horrible head constantly. There is a lot of drugs, drinking, sex, and sexual violence. There is a lot of reducing women to genitalia. There is a lot of sexism. There is a lot of triggering content.

A tortoiseshell cat wearing a festive sweater and a candy-cane striped bow looks out a window. Beside her sits a copy of Post Office.

Bukowski’s work is an important turning point in literature when it comes to style and what content you could and could not publish when he was writing. Reading Bukowski is reading an important stepping stone in the evolution of modern literature. But that doesn’t negate the offensive horrible content in his work.

Why I Read These Books

When I start reading something like Bukowski (or Hunter S Thompson or Irvine Welsh), my lovely spouse always listens so patiently while I tell her about the book I’m currently in the middle of. Then she looks at me with that beautiful, quizzical smile and asks me why I torture myself this way.

A tortoiseshell cat sits nicely beside a book. The cat is wearing a bow on her collar and a festive little sweater.

Maybe it’s strange — or maybe I have something in common with TCM’s Eddie Mueller — but when I feel down, I reach for books about people whose lives have gone completely off of the rails. Yes, I’m worried about paying our mortgage or the amount of inflation that’s now showing up on our weekly grocery bill, but at least I have it more together than Bukowski or Hunter S Thompson or the characters of Trainspotting.

A copy of Post Office leans against a cat that is wearing a sweater.

Of course, I also read these books because they’ve contributed a lot to different areas of literature, and wanting to be well read means that I have to read all kinds of content. Even the disturbing stuff. Though, as a note, I do draw the line at animal cruelty and gratuitous sexual violence.

Shopping Time is Here Too

I’ve probably mentioned it at least twice before, but Robbie Williams’ ‘Let’s Not Go Shopping’ is my current mood when it comes to thinking about Black Friday. This year we’ve decided to actually brave the door crashing opening of the mall, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go. There are visions of pushing, shoving chaos in my head that’s probably not even close to reality.

It will be adventure that’s for sure! I just hope it makes the budgeting easier to an extent that justifies the potential nightmare of the mall on the worst shopping day of the year.

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