The Novels of Charles Bukowski

Bukowski wrote six novels in his lifetime. Five of those were autobiographical. The protagonist, Henry Chinaski, is Buk's alter ego. Chinaski is a fearless man who has a general disdain for society and middle class values. He posesses a very cynical sense of humor and is constantly evaluating the motivations of people who surround him. Underneath it all is a sensitive and vulnerable soul that often gets taken advantage of by women and is hardened by society.

From the reader's point of view, you will follow the journey of Henry Chinaski's life, rooting for him along the way. He starts his life in a lower class Los Angeles neighborhood, where is is mercilessly beaten by his militant, abusive father. Chinaski is an ugly kid who suffers from an extreme case of acne. His self esteem is constantly chewed up. He transforms into a tough, street smart kid. Eventually he leaves the confines of his father's house and follows a path down the road to self destruction.

Bukowski's failure to adapt socially stemmed from his own early life. When he tried to make friends with other children on the east side of Los Angeles where he lived, he found it difficult to fit in: he was shy, his upbringing was not that of the typical American middle classes and he was ridiculed because he had a slight German accent.

Bukowski's final novel was "Pulp". Not as well received as Bukowski's other work, "Pulp was written as a spoof of the detective genre, featuring a private investigator named Nick Belane.