This is the first novel narrated by Bukowski's autobiographical alter-ego, Henry Chinaski. Through Chinaski, the writer tells us about the decade leading up to the start of his career as a full-time writer. He spent most of that decade working for the US Postal service. This novel is a hilarious account of that period. The action switches back-and-forth between one world - that of hard drinking, occasional one-night stands and racetracks - and another - a grim, back-breaking struggle to keep at a job the narrator hates.