He dedicated his last book to bad writing. Pulp is truly bad writing. Or is it?
The plot takes Nick Belane,the protagonist private eye, on a weird and wild journey through the streets of LA searching for the writer Celine who is supposed to be dead. He is working for none other than Death in the form of a voluptuous femme fatale in a red dress too tight due to as Belane puts it, to too many chocolate malts. The story degenerates from there and throws everything as well as the kitchen sink at you.
As I mentioned earlier, Bukowski is satirizing writing. On the surface he is mocking pulp fiction detective novels, hence the title Pulp. However, I also think he is poking fun at pretentious literature as well; the type that you are suppose to glean deep meaning from.
What is funny is that he beats you over the head with metaphors and double entendre. Again, this is very much how a bad writer would write; the word self indulgent also comes to mind.
Being one of the first Bukowski novels I read, it is a real favorite of mine. I can laugh a lot more now that I am writing stories in the genre he is ridiculing.
His prose is purposely hammy and perfect for what he is trying to achieve. I think subconsciously I have taken cues from this work and a page from his playbook and started hamming a little in my prose, especially with my Huey Dusk stories.
I would also add that this novel reads more like Richard Brautigan than it does his other works-- and that is not a bad thing either. If you are new to the works of Charles Bukowski, I would recommend this one. It is quite entertaining and a real page turner. True fans should also get this one to round out their collection.