Title: Hot Water Music
Author: Charles Bukowski
Page Count/Review Word Count: 221
Like the majority of Bukowski’s prose, it’s difficult to separate the fact from the fiction and to figure out how to classify the work – so, as always, I’m adopting the Jack Kerouac approach and classifying it as both. Hot Water Music is a collection of the poet’s short stories and covers the usual subjects – booze, women, the horses and the daily struggle that writers face when caught in the crossfire between editors and the typewriter.
Interestingly, Bukowski’s books have influenced a whole generation of musicians – there’s a punk band from Florida called ‘Hot Water Music’, and the names of some of his poetry collections (like ‘Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame) have been used as the titles of albums and songs by various bands across the globe. It’s rare to see such unprecedented influence translate between two different genres of the arts.
I didn’t enjoy this much as I’ve enjoyed most of Bukowski’s books, but it’s still worth a read for fans – it’s just not the best work to start on. Ham On Rye comes highly recommended, and I’ve always preferred his poetry to his fiction. That said, you can do a lot worse – proceed with caution, and enjoy yourself.