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In 1980 Fernanda Pivano, noted Italian critic, translator, and author, came to the United States to interview one of the worlds singular writers, Charles Bukowski.

Bukowski had become famous for his lower-depths fiction and poetry. Who was this man? What made him write the way he did? How did he live? How did he write? These and other questions were to be asked during the interview.

Coming to Bukowskis home in San Pedro, California, Pivano found a man whose answers to her questions were frank, revealing, and sometimes shocking. In lengthy and productive sessions, she discovered a Bukowski both the same and different than his published works.

The complete transcript of that remarkable interview is included here.

But that is only part of this book, which has been published in English for the first time. Pivano has surrounded the interview with a generous helping of comment, critique, and warmly worded appraisal.

Bukowski died in 1994. Since then his fame has only increased. This book provides unique insight into the forces behind the man.

Pivano writes: "The hearsay and facts about Bukowskis life are as crazy and strange as the stories he writes. In a certain way Bukowski is a legend in his own time: a recluse, a lover, tender, vicious, horrible, a saint . . . The jury is still out. It seems there is no middle ground. People love him or hate him. Only one thing is sure: you cant read him and remain the same."

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