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« use less imagination | Main | jason webster »
Wednesday
Apr212010

the outsiders

Recently I have been reading comics written by Harvey Pekar. Impossible not to like. I have also glanced again at Hollywood by Charles Bukowski. Hollywood, Post office and his poems are my favourites of his. Ham and Rye, Women and Factotum featured a much less aggreable Hank figure. Though of course there are gems in there too. I've stopped sneaking back to Kerouac's Big Sur, which has some brilliant writing in it but is far too much of a downer. I tend to keep a book near my desk and obsessively reread it, sometimes nine or ten times- then never again. Often the books are obscure: This Bloody Mary by Jonathan Rendall- an honest and always interesting writer- was one book I read many times. Also Rebuilding the Indian by Fred Haefele. The books are all autobiographical fiction and non-fiction by outsider types. None of this stuff is that uplifting though the humor of Bukowski in Post Office is cockle warming stuff. I'm not sure why I like these books, mainly American; probably has something to do with wanting to see another side of America than the one portrayed in films and on TV. The American viewpoint is so widespread, and even when espoused by the ignorant seems as unassailable as the British Imperial viewpoint a century ago, that its refreshing to see internal dissent so to speak. When Harvey Pekar travels out of Cleveland his insights remain unashamedly provincial, and, while still interesting you feel he's missing a lot because, actually, he wants to get home.

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