In this hilarious roman a clef, Bukowski draws on his experiences while writing the script for the 1987 film Barfly.
Henry Chinaski, the author's alter ego in the film, here returns to write--despite misgivings--a Hollywood screenplay, The Dance of Jim Beam. The film is based on Chinaski's early life as a barfly and brawler, before he became a famous author. As he and his companion Sarah are caught up in the Hollywood whirlwind, Bukowski satirizes a host of well-known movie personalities. While Bukowski fans will welcome the reappearance of Chinaski, with his penchant for booze, women, and horse racing, film buffs should enjoy the novel for its delightful and irreverent portrayal of Hollywood.
Henry Chinaski, Bukowski’s alter-ego, is pushed to translate a semi-autobiographical book into a screenplay for John Pinchot. He reluctantly agrees, and is thrust into the otherworld called Hollywood, with its parade of eccentric and maddening characters: producers, artists, actors and actresses, film executives and journalists. In this world, the artistry of books and film is lost to the dollar, and Chinaski struggles to keep his footing in the tangle of cons that comprise movie making. Hollywood is Dirty Old Man Bukowski at his most lucid. It overflows with curses, sex, and alcohol. And through it all, or from it all, Bukowski finds flashes of truth about the human condition.