FACTOTUM — The Worst of America At Its Best

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

Heinrich Karl (Charles) Bukowski – image courtesy of Wikipedia

I’ve never been much of a Charles Bukowski fan…

Not because I don’t like him…

But just because I never got around to reading that much of his work.

However, I’ve always liked the idea of Charles Bukowski…

The legend of Charles Bukowski.

Of him being someone who just did not give one single fuck care about society and its oppressive norms.

Bukowski, or the idea I have of him, appeals to me because he is so opposite of who I am…

Me, just another cog in the wheel — just another factotum — someone who, until disaster struck, spent his entire life bowed down obediently to The Man.

And yet, while I spent my days humping away for The Man and His Machine, I never once had to worry about my next meal, or whether or not I would have a roof over my head, or whether I was going to find myself passed out drunk in a gutter lying in my own piss…

Quite unlike Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s degenerate alter-ego and protagonist of the diminutive yet elegantly piquaresque novel Factotum.



The novel is nothing more than a series of short, unvarnished sketches depicting the life of a man struggling to exist — be it on his own terms — as he shuffles from one low-wage gig to the next, working each only long enough for him to afford to go on his next debauched and drunken binge.

Reading Factotum fills me with such mixed emotions, similar to how I feel when I read other such stick-it-to-The-Man odes as Kerouac’s On the Road or Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence

The twenty-year military man in me wants to beat the crap out of the degenerate protagonists for being so irresponsible and such bad examples…

And yet the repressed Gauguin man in me wants to cheer them on and spot them a sawbuck or two for their daring efforts to live free and on their own terms.


Anyway, after quickly finishing the novel I went straight to my big screen and fired up my brand new Fire TV and watched the movie adaptation of it starring Matt Dillon.

It’s a pretty decent showing; although, the novel is set during World War II — Chinaski was deferred from service for reasons I forget — and the movie is set during modern times… which, to me, was a bummer. I think it would be much better if it were set in Bukowski’s natural element.

But all in all it is a fair representation of the book.

So yeah…

That’s all I have to say about that.

Now, it’s time for me to behave like the lame cog that I am and reassume my position within the Man’s forever spinning Wheel…

Say it like you mean it

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