We've all done it, a grunt job you don't care about, wishing the time away, looking forward to that drink at the end of the day and despising your sadistic boss. Its a fundamental part of this life – Work. Bukowski draws from the mundane and pointless grind that afflicts most of the population at some time during their lives and animates it into a heroic, ridiculous and hilarious caper.
“Bukowski as much more than just another West Coast Beat poet”.
Bukowski was not amalgamated into the 'Beat' movement of the cold war Zeitgeist, he did it his way and was true to himself, he was a true innovator without peer. Post Office is the first example of this.
He manages to mould a fantastic biographical story from his time in the post office; a 'Kafka' like institution. The narrative vehicle is his alter ego Chinaski who weathers most of Bukowskis down and out stories. Post Office is sometimes mocking of the absurd and sometimes terrified of the futility and destruction everyday life reaps on our souls.
The book retains the readers attention, its direct, to the point and short. The odd passage that is adrift, for example near the end of the book when the narrative is formed by a number of letters, do not cause a problem because they are so quickly over and done with. Your meant to shoot through this story in the way Bukowski writes and drinks, quick and with determination.
His jobs at the Post Office are at the core of the story, but we also delves into his relationship with a number of women, including the mother of his daughter, an alcoholic first love, a millionaire sex addict and a whore with a knife wielding pimp. All of his relationships end on differing levels of disaster, but he keeps going relentlessly, dizzy spells and beer in hand to the Post Office. He manages to portray an excellent and enchanting balance of the ups and downs of every day life, with utter despair and laugh out loud humour. Using his wit and ironic interpretations of the smallest encounters and adventures, normally boring subject are animated and reflected on. Loosing his clip board in a flood, stealing communion wine, not wearing jeans on jeans day in a small Texan town, whatever it is he illuminates the downfalls and hilarity of the norm.
There is an underlying sensitivity that he injects into the harsh reality of the book, defending his abused dog from pointy shoes and thousands of flies, documenting the downfall and institutionalised destruction of an aged colleague. Post Office is full of triumphs and failures, shouting down the moaning public through locked doors or giving into the unions botched excuses. Sometimes the protagonist is a hero sometimes and abject failure.