Hank: The Life of Charles Bukowski

Neeli Cherkovski, Author, Neeli Cherovski, Author Random House (NY) $21.95 (337p) ISBN 978-0-394-57526-1
Seventy-year-old cult figure Charles Bukowski, author of Post Office , Barfly: The Movie and Septuagenarian Stew , is notorious for living the hard-drinking, womanizing, sordid L.A. life depicted in his prose and poetry. In this sympathetic biography, Cherkovski ( Whitman's Wild Children ) plays down the unsavory elements of Bukowski's reputation, including an antagonistic nature brought on by alcohol, instead portraying him as the social ousider's friend and hero. Despite abusive parents who disapproved of his writing, and childhood acne that caused his peers to ostracize him and that permanently scarred his face, Bukowski, Cherkovski shows, became a dedicated, prolific artist who published in and helped found numerous literary journals, later perpetuating his own legend and attaining celebrity status through egotistical, wild behavior. This profile partially de-romanticizes the Bukowski myth, allowing the integrity of the poet's works to prove him an admirable, if contradictory character. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Discover what to read next