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Charles Bukowski: The Bell Tolls for No One

From the self-illustrated, unpublished work written in 1947 to hardboiled contributions to 1980s adult magazines, The Bells Tolls for No One presents the entire range of Bukowski’s talent as a short story writer, from straight-up genre stories to postmodern blurring of fact and fiction.

An informative introduction by editor David Stephen Calonne provides historical context for these seemingly scandalous and chaotic tales, revealing the hidden hand of the master at the top of his form.

Born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, Charles Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he would eventually publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose. He died of leukemia in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994.

David Stephen Calonne is the author of several books and has edited three previous collections of the uncollected work of Charles Bukowski for City Lights: Absence of the Hero, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, and More Notes of a Dirty Old Man.

The Paris Review:
“Bukowski’s The Bell Tolls for No One, recently released in a comic-book-like paperback, follows the hardboiled genre bent that reached its surreal apotheosis in his final novel, Pulp. The obvious influence is to Hemingway—see: the title—but perhaps more interestingly, the editor David Stephen Calonne notes Bukowski’s debt to the crime writer James M. Cain, who had also, unbeknownst to me, shaped the style of Camus’s The Stranger. The book includes some of Bukowski’s roughly drawn illustrations, which fall somewhere close to pornographic Ziggy or adult-themed New Yorker cartoons. One features an asthmatic customer at an adult bookstore asking the cashier to inflate his blow-up doll for him; another shows an expressionistically drawn party girl surrounded by gawking men with the caption “God, a woman could get bored.” The subject matter is a more amplified version of the usual Bukowski fare—stalwart, sleazebag protagonists; spectral, deathly women with emphatically described upper legs. As always, the most one can hope for in Bukowski’s universe is “a grim yet comfortable isolation.”—Casey Henry in The Paris Review

“He had a good wife. I remember one time they cleaned
up my face with cotton and some kind of sterilizer when
it was all smashed-in from a bad night out. They seemed
very tender and concerned and serious about my smashed-
in face, and it was a very odd feeling to me, that care.
Anyhow, the drinking got to Mick, and it gets to each
of us differently. With him, the body swelled up, doubled,
tripled in size in various places. He couldn’t zip his pants
and had to cut slits in the pant legs. His story was that they
didn’t have a bed for him in the vet’s hospital. My feeling
was that he didn’t want to go there. Anyhow, one day he
made a foolish move and tried the General Hospital.
After a couple of days he phoned me. “Jesus Christ,
they’re killing me! I’ve never seen a place like this. No doc-
tors anywhere and nurses don’t give a damn and just these
fruit orderlies running around like snobs and happy that
everybody’s sick and dying. What the fuck is this place?
They’re carrying the dead out by the dozens!”
-Charles Bukowski

Title: The Bell Tolls for No One
Author: Charles Bukowski
Edited by David Stephen Calonne
Publisher City Lights Publishers
Format Paperback
ISBN-10 0872866823
ISBN-13 9780872866829
Publication Date 14 July 2015
308 pages
Price $14.95

short story writer books
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