Charles Bukowski is primarily known as a poet. He was also a lifelong alcoholic and often wrote about his drinking in both his poems and especially in his prose. Post Office was his first novel.
Although it’s labeled “a novel,” Post Office is really a memoir. (I think the only actual novel Bukowski ever wrote was Pulp, a parody of a detective novel, “Dedicated to bad writing,” that was published in 1994, the year he died. I’ll review Pulp in the future.) There’s no plot to Post Office, hardly even a story. A man hires on as a letter carrier, works a few years then quits. He hires on again as a clerk, works a lot more years, then quits again. That’s the story.
In this time frame of some 14-15 years, he goes through a number of wives and lovers, drinks, has a kid, drinks, plays the horses, and drinks. I’ve heard many people say they love Bukowski’s poetry, but hate his prose. In my opinion, they’re not reading him right. His prose is poetry. I’m not saying that every word Bukowski has ever written is poetry. But there are hundreds of poems, disguised as prose, throughout his “novels.” Post Office is a book you can flip open to any page and start reading and you’ll soon find yourself engrossed.