Hot Water Music finds Henry Charles Bukowski scratching the same itch. Across thirty six adults-only short stories, the reader is introduced to the usual gallery of Bukowski characters - the down-and-out living in cheap hotels looking for cheaper redemption and the losing gamblers betting on the wrong horses, again. Bukowski’s writing is as strong as ever and the dialogue between characters has the usual kinetic energy. Though in the time since the book was first published, in 1983, a lot has changed in society and many of the character descriptions now leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Some of the pieces seem to be character sketches, such as The Man who loved Elevators. Many of the characters in the book are writers or poets, often struggling, like Joe Mayer in A Working Day. Stories take on different topics, everything from an atypical trip to the doctor in Not Quite Bernadette to infidelity in Strokes to Nowhere, which looks at the way some people try to justify it whilst committing it. In the oeuvre of Bukowski this is not the best introduction to new readers of his plentiful work. There is much to admire here but this is a book to borrow, rather than buy, and it’s probably best not to lend it to the vicar. Photobucket