Just reading about what it might have been like to meet the grand wizard himself would have been enough for any fan of Buk's writing. But Ben Pleasants, a fine writer in his own light, was Bukowski's official biographer, and here he reveals so much more about his relationship with Charles Bukowski.
He renders the image human, gives form to the craziness and rebellious nature of his writing, and takes us through the evolution of Mr. B. from a barely-published poet into a full-blown novel writer whose works were translated into dozens of languages and for which he saw a bank account steadily rise.
In reading this book, one is reminded of the recently departed Hunter S. Thompson, a writer who created his own "gonzo" take on journalism and fiction. Both writers wrote their own rules, and it was oftentimes impossible to separate the characters they created from the characters they were living.
In one of the final chapters titled "How To Write A Short Story," CB gives this answer in response to a Pleasants' question about how one breaks into the short story oeuvre:
"They were lyrical. They were rambling. The plot and content were secondary. It was a vomiting up, an effusion of feeling."
Pleasants asky why he didn't write poetry.
"I didn't think much of poetry. I thought I was really cutting loose with this new form, like a Mahler symphony."
Again, that Thompson pose of breaking new ground.
If you love Buskowki, and who doesn't, this is a nice companion piece to have in the library.