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Publisher's Summary

In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years, and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, Ham on Rye offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression.
©1982 Charles Bukowski (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers
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Critic Reviews

"Very funny, very sad, and despite its self-congratulatory tone, honest in most of the right places. In many ways, Bukowski may have been the perfect writer to describe post-war southern California - a land of wide, flat spaces with nothing worth seeing, so you might as well vanish into yourself. In an age of conformity, Bukowski wrote about the people nobody wanted to be: the ugly, the selfish, the lonely, the mad." ( The Observer)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Parola138 on 12-09-13

Thoroughly enjoyed this

This is a favorite book that I read maybe fifteen years ago. I was very pleased to read this and other Bukowski titles are now available on Audible. Some of Bukowski's books don't hold up when I revisit them years later, however Ham on Rye is the exception. It is a very blunt, honest tale of fierce aloneness, being anti-social and a struggle to grapple with the madness of the world around him. This book, I don't think, is intended to be funny but I laugh out loud so many times while reading it. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the narrator, but he grew on me. I don't think I could listen to him narrate any other book, but it fits Bukowski so that after a while you actually feel like its Bukowski reading it to you. I guarantee that you'll never read another book like this. In fact, I feel like it actually gets better as it progresses into the second half. Most books are the opposite. I also recommend Factotum by Bukowski. The beauty in these books is that none of them are very long. I wish they would put some of his poetry into audible like Love is a Dog From Hell or You Get so Alone Sometimes.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By kurdis teed on 02-01-18

Great Performance: Bukowski keeps it real.

If you could sum up Ham on Rye in three words, what would they be?

Hilarious and Crude

What did you like best about this story?

I like the humor and sarcasm best. I laughed more listening to this audiobook than all other audiobooks I've heard combined.

What about Christian Baskous’s performance did you like?

This is one of the top performances on I've heard, and I've heard some really good ones. Christian Baskous is the perfect narrator to read Bukowski's work.

Who was the most memorable character of Ham on Rye and why?

The most memorable character is definitely the protagonist, Henry. He is a young drunk with a foul mouth, and he and his friends are hilarious.

Any additional comments?

I rarely, if ever, literally laugh out loud while listening to an audiobook. This performance caused me to laugh out loud multiple times. The humor is as crude as it comes, so if you are easily offended or do not like foul language, stay away from Ham on Rye. If this type humor is something you enjoy, download this book. The performance is top notch, and while the story isn't a fast paced one, there's always something going on. Be warned: Ham on Rye is rude and crude and socially unacceptable. I loved it.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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