Post Office is the life and times of world-class alchoholic fuck-up Henry Chinaski, a middle-aged slacker and half-assed postal worker. Covering a stretch of approximately 15 years, the book details the exploits of Chinaski, who reasoned that a career in the postal service was “easy money” and would allow him to make a living by exerting the least amount of effort while providing a maximum amount of exposure to lonely housewifes.
Chinaski quickly finds out that the job really entails countless hours of redundant and pointless labor, sadistic supervisors, infuriatingly inept postal bureacracy, and scarce opportunites for illicit mid-day rendevous. Chinaski somehow manages to cope with it all by constantly floundering his supervisors with smart-ass witticisms, inverting postal logic on its head, and diversionary tactics involving far-fetched excuses for poor performance that would make David Thorne proud.
Unexplained absences and disciplinary write-ups perpetually ensure that his job is hanging on by a thread. Chinaski just keeps on chugging along at his own unrepetant pace while furiously consuming liqour to fuel the fires and amplify his antics. At times its almost as if Hunter S Thompson had the leading role in “Office Space“.
In between scenes of Chinaski wrangling the demons of his postal inflicted tortures, a string of dysfunctional women pass through his trainwreck excuse for a life. Through the endless stream of lust and liquor, gambling and hangovers, a failed marriage, failed sexual conquests, an attempt on his life, and the alchohol induced death of the woman he came closest to actually loving, Chinaski manages to single-mindedly drive on.
The end of the book gets into some weird territory with a seemingly pointless trajectory into a Burroughs-type hallucination... almost as if Bukowski grew bored and had no idea how to end the book… but maybe the anti-climactic ending is appropriate for the story of a life that was the antithesis of success.