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The Bell Tolls for No One

From the self-illustrated, unpublished work written in 1947 to hardboiled contributions to 1980s adult magazines, The Bells Tolls for No One presents the entire range of Bukowski's talent as a short story writer, from straight-up genre stories to postmodern blurring of fact and fiction. An informative introduction by editor David Stephen Calonne provides historical context for these seemingly scandalous and chaotic tales, revealing the hidden hand of the master at the top of his form. "The uncollected gutbucket ramblings of the grand dirty old man of Los Angeles letters have been gathered in this characteristically filthy, funny compilation ...Bukowkski's gift was a sense for the raunchy absurdity of life, his writing a grumble that might turn into a belly laugh or a racking cough but that always throbbed with vital energy."--Kirkus Reviews Born in Andernach, Germany, and raised in Los Angeles, Charles Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he would eventually publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose. He died of leukemia in San Pedro, California on March 9, 1994. David Stephen Calonne is the author of several books and has edited three previous collections of the uncollected work of Charles Bukowski for City Lights: Absence of the Hero, Portions from a Wine-Stained Notebook, and More Notes of a Dirty Old Man.
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Promotional Information

Print: NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle, Washington Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, LA Weekly, LA Magazine, Beat Scene, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Minneapolis Star Tribune, New York Review of Books, Washington Post, Rain Taxi, Newsweek, Time, New Yorker, Nylon, Interview, GQ, Esquire, Maxim, Men's Journal, Men's Vogue, Details, Penthouse, Playboy, Hustler Trades: PW, Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus] Excerpt: Playboy, Penthouse, Esquire, Slate, and various other dark pulp publications - places where Bukowksi would have shown up back when he was writing. Online (Blog) Campaign:, The,,, Elegant Variation, Identity Theory, Popmatters, B&N, Reality Sandwich, Zocalo, Social Media Campaign: Promotion via City Lights social media: City Lights Blog, City Lights Podcast, CL Facebook (26K likes), CL Twitter (57K followers), CL Instagram (1500 followers), CL Tumblr (1000 followers), CL Pinterest (1000 followers) Frequent tweets and Facebook posts related to Charles Bukowski's place in literature history and his legacy, as well as info about Bukowski with quotes, pictures, and other ephemera. A blog feature and excerpt of the book and a podcast with an interview and a subsequent reading at City Lights Bookstore.

About the Author

Charles Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany on August 16, 1920, the only child of an American soldier and a German mother. At the age of three, he came with his family to the United States and grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Los Angeles City College from 1939 to 1941, then left school and moved to New York City to become a writer. His lack of publishing success at this time caused him to give up writing in 1946 and spurred a ten-year stint of heavy drinking. After he developed a bleeding ulcer, he decided to take up writing again. He worked a wide range of jobs to support his writing, including dishwasher, truck driver and loader, mail carrier, guard, gas station attendant, stock boy, warehouse worker, shipping clerk, post office clerk, parking lot attendant, Red Cross orderly, and elevator operator. He also worked in a dog biscuit factory, a slaughterhouse, a cake and cookie factory, and he hung posters in New York City subways. Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. His first book of poetry was published in 1959; he went on to publish more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including Pulp (Black Sparrow, 1994), Screams from the Balcony: Selected Letters 1960-1970 (1993), and The Last Night of the Earth Poems (1992). He died of leukemia in San Pedro on March 9, 1994. David Stephen Calonne was born in Los Angeles in 1953. He earned a B.A. in Ancient Greek from UCLA and a doctorate in English at the University of Texas at Austin where he wrote his dissertation on the works of William Saroyan. He has written several other books on writers including Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski. A new critical study of Miller will appear from Reaktion Press in London in September of 2014. He is the editor of three volumes of Bukowski's uncollected prose for City Lights. He has lectured in Paris, at Columbia University, Penn, Berkeley, Harvard, and Oxford.


"The brevity of the pieces collected here, some no more than two or three pages, suit Bukowski well. ... Best to think of his work as a series of dirty Road Runner cartoons in which Bukowski is the coyote taking one damn kick in the pants--front- and backside--after another. At its worst (the hijack fantasy "Fly the Friendly Skies"), Bukowski's sensibility is ugly and coarse. But when he is swinging, there is a companionable ease to his blunt, profane vernacular. Bukowski's gift was a sense for the raunchy absurdity of life, his writing a grumble that might turn into a belly laugh or a racking cough but that always throbbed with vital energy."--Kirkus Reviews "Bukowski's world is hostile, full of runaway dysfunction, and populated by alcoholics, gamblers, adulterers, and abusers, all with few, if any, redeeming qualities ... It is Bukowski's embrace of this world, his insistence on its validity if not its value, that makes him unique ... Bukowski can be honest and direct, and he is capable of embedding meaningful observations in the most sordid of stories."--Publishers Weekly Bukowski's The Bell Tolls for No One, recently released in a comic-book-like paperback, follows the hardboiled genre bent that reached its surreal apotheosis in his final novel, Pulp. The obvious influence is to Hemingway--see: the title--but perhaps more interestingly, the editor David Stephen Calonne notes Bukowski's debt to the crime writer James M. Cain, who had also, unbeknownst to me, shaped the style of Camus's The Stranger. The book includes some of Bukowski's roughly drawn illustrations, which fall somewhere close to pornographic Ziggy or adult-themed New Yorker cartoons. One features an asthmatic customer at an adult bookstore asking the cashier to inflate his blow-up doll for him; another shows an expressionistically drawn party girl surrounded by gawking men with the caption 'God, a woman could get bored.' The subject matter is a more amplified version of the usual Bukowski fare--stalwart, sleazebag protagonists; spectral, deathly women with emphatically described upper legs. As always, the most one can hope for in Bukowski's universe is 'a grim yet comfortable isolation.'"--Casey Henry, The Paris Review "Like Robert Crumb, whose art appears on the cover of The Bell Tolls For No One, Charles Bukowski represents a kind of brazenly counterculture spirit that holds in contempt anything that represents the Establishment. Read in this light, this newest compilation can be viewed as more than the self-admitted 'notes of a dirty old man,' but as the further works of an iconoclast who, much like the underground comics artists and punk rock bands of the late '70s, waged war against all that was supposedly 'decent' and conventional for the sake of getting at the grit of human experience."-ZYZZYVA These are tales from the lower class and underclass, in all their glorious craziness and absurdity. It's not pretty, and yet, somehow, there is joy in reading these stories, and somehow too, Bukowski ends up being a good buddhist, finding the larger beauty in these dismal lives ... [For those] who already love Buk, this book will leave content, drunk, smiles on our faces."--Entropy Magazine

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