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A book that captures the Dirty Old Man of American letters at his fiercest and most vulnerable, on a subject that hits home with all of us. Charles Bukowski was a man of intense emotions, someone an editor once called a “passionate madman.” Alternating between tough and gentle, sensitive and gritty, Bukowski lays bare the myriad facets of love-its selfishness and its narcissism, its randomness, its mystery and its misery, and, ultimately, its true joyfulness, endurance, and redemptive power.
The stories in Hot Water Music dash around the worst parts of town – a motel room stinking of sick, a decrepit apartment housing a perpetually arguing couple, a bar tended by a skeleton – and depict the darkest parts of human existence. Bukowski talks simply and profoundly about the underbelly of the working class without raising judgement.
Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter-ego, is pushed to translate a semi-autobiographical book into a screenplay for John Pinchot. He reluctantly agrees, and is thrust into the otherworld called Hollywood, with its parade of eccentric and maddening characters: producers, artists, actors and actresses, film executives and journalists. In this world, the artistry of books and film is lost to the dollar, and Chinaski struggles to keep his footing in the tangle of cons that comprise movie making.