Factotum (novel)

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First edition (publ. Black Sparrow)

Factotum (1975) is the second novel by American author Charles Bukowski. The plot follows Henry Chinaski, Bukowski's alter ego, who has been rejected from the World War II draft and makes his way from one menial job to the next (hence a factotum). Factotum was adapted into a film of the same name starring Matt Dillon in 2005.

Factotum takes place in 1944 and follows the life of perpetually unemployed alcoholic Henry Chinaski as he drifts through the seedy city streets of lower-class Los Angeles in search of a job that will not come between him and his first love: writing. He is consistently rejected by the only publishing house he respects, but he is driven to continue by the knowledge that he could do better than the authors they publish.

Chinaski begins sleeping with fellow barfly Jan, a kindred spirit he meets while drowning his sorrows at a bar. When a brief stint as a bookie finds him abandoned by the only woman with whom he is able to relate, a fling with gold-digging floozie Laura finds him once again falling into a morose state of perpetual drunkenness and unemployment.

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