Having struggled with dyslexia for years, always bottom of my class, I'd traded reading for instant gratification of skateboarding, drink, drugs and music. It was only when I moved to London and couldn't afford the tube so the bus would take an hour and a half to get me there. My friend lent me this book, Factotum by Charles Bukowski to take and read on the bus to work. Its quite abstractly written, the first chapter is about a page and a half long and I thought, if I can read that, I can read the rest and I did and it rejuvenated a spark in me. It was the first of many books read, but it stuck with me.
A drunk and degenerate semi autobiographic account of Bukowski's alter ego Henry Chinaski, deferred from military service and is in all essence a wander of post WW2 America, moving endlessly from one odd job to the another to pay for his next drink. As an aspiring writer he spends his nights getting drunk and writing short story's. His day to day existence spirals into drunken brawls, short lived romances, horse races, never having enough money and enduring the struggle of low wage jobs and minimal desire to find consistent work. This is a man living on the edge, a writer who risks everything, tries anything, and finds poetry in life's pleasure and pain. A bittersweet, funny, sad and endearing story, the survival of an asshole amidst his life's existential crisis. Its not about happy or sad, its not about a beginning or end, its just about life's journey for one man.