Women by Charles Bukowski; The Rat on Fire by George V Higgins - review by Patrick Maguire

Patrick Maguire

Real-life Americans



W.H Allen 291pp £6.95 order from our bookshop

The Rat on Fire


Secker & Warburg 183pp £5.95 order from our bookshop

The publisher’s come-on for Charles Bukowski’s Women cites Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet. Both apparently have acclaimed him as ‘the best poet in America’. Perhaps this says something about the efforts of every other poet in America, or indicates the perversity of existentialist taste, or maybe even it reflects the common understanding of American English of the Gallic savant and ex-voleur (a language of unfettered mendacity?). Or it could be that they were just drunk at the time?

It is indeed a wondrous thing that Chinaski, a performing poet if ever there was one, can get it up at all, given his inordinate fondness for the sauce. But get it up he (mostly) does. For Lydia, Lilly, April, Valerie, Dee Dee, Nicole, Mindy, Tammy, Mercedes, Debra, Cassie, Sara,

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