Hollywood (Bukowski novel)

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First edition cover
AuthorCharles Bukowski
CountryUnited States
GenreAutobiographical novel
PublisherBlack Sparrow Press
Publication date
Media typePrint
Preceded byHam on Rye 
Followed byPulp 

Hollywood is a 1989 novel by Charles Bukowski which fictionalizes his experiences writing the screenplay for the film Barfly and taking part in its tumultuous journey to the silver screen.[1] It is narrated in the first person.


Adopting the stylized alter-ego, Henry 'Hank' Chinaski, a character used in previous novels, this book relates his experiences of working with a director, finding financial backing, losing financial backing, writing the screenplay and finally completing the film, Barfly. The seemingly preposterous exchanges and occurrences within these pages leave the reader with the conviction that Hank Chinaski's life was truly stranger than fiction.


The novel is a roman à clef, in which Bukowski is named Henry Chinaski, and his wife Linda is named Sarah. His friend, the poet John Thomas Idlet, is named John Galt. His German translator Carl Weissner is named Karl Vossner. Photographer Michael Montfort is named Michael Huntington. The film Barfly is named The Dance of Jim Beam. Film company Cannon is named Firepower. Bukowski uses the following names as pseudonyms for the people with whom he worked on the movie.

He also references people he met in Hollywood during his time working on the movie:


Though officially engaged only as screenplay writer, Bukowski appeared in the background of one scene, sitting at the bar with the other "barflies." Schroeder already had filmed a series of 52 short interviews with Bukowski, assembled under the title The Charles Bukowski Tapes. Footage later was used in a 2003 documentary on the author titled Bukowski: Born into This.


  1. ^ Haskell, Molly (11 June 1989). "So Much Genius! So Little Money!". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 February 2024.

External links[edit]

  • Haskell, Molly (1989-06-11). "So Much Genius! So Little Money!". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-06. (a review of the book followed by a very short interview with Bukowski)