The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship, by Charles Bukowski, published by ecco 2002. Photo by Klaudyna Piatek

Warning: this book is not for the faint of heart! If you are easily offended, please don’t read this.

However, if you enjoy a good dose of dry and wry humour; if you like reading honest things and you’re not afraid of what you might find out about yourself of others, then read on!

I enjoyed this book from the moment I picked it up. I found it at a Fnac in Nice, France. It was sitting there in the English section and I had a faint recollection of the name Charles Bukowski. I also may have imagined that recollection; either way, I picked it up and didn’t put it back down until I was finished. I think it’s safe to say I loved it.

This book is not for beginners though, I’d say, perhaps, you could read it with a B2 level in English, perhaps a B1 at a stretch if you’re unafraid of meeting new vocabulary and a very unFrench form of style.

Here’s an extract:

And as soon as I started down the hill I heard my elderly neighbor. He was yelling at me. I climbed his steps. he was dressed in his pajama pants and an old gray sweatshirt. I walked up and shook his hand. 
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm your neighbor. Been there for ten years."
"I'm 96," he said.
"I know it, Charley."
"God won't take me because He's afraid I'll take his job."
"You could."
"Could take the Devil's job too."
"You could."
"How old are you?"
"71."
"71?"
"Yes."
"That's old too."
"Oh, I know it, Charley."
We shook hands and I went back down his steps and then down the hill, passing the tired plants, the tired houses. 
I was on my way to the gas station.
Just another day kicked in the ass.
(From pages 39-40)

Don’t forget to join our online book club at the end of this month. We’re reading Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!

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