The Bell Tolls for No One
Edited by David Stephen Calonne
"Bukowski's 'Won’t You Be My Valentine'"
Feb 14, 2016
"Won't You Be My Valentine," a story published in The Bell Tolls for No One is excerpted.
Smoke Signals Magazine
"Like Robert Crumb, whose art appears on the cover of The Bell Tolls For No One, Charles Bukowski represents a kind of brazenly counterculture spirit that holds in contempt anything that represents the Establishment. Read in this light, this newest compilation can be viewed as more than the self-admitted 'notes of a dirty old man,' but as the further works of an iconoclast who, much like the underground comics artists and punk rock bands of the late '70s, waged war against all that was supposedly 'decent' and conventional for the sake of getting at the grit of human experience."––Zack Ravas
"These are tales from the lower class and underclass, in all their glorious craziness and absurdity. It's not pretty, and yet, somehow, there is joy in reading these stories, and somehow too, Bukowski ends up being a good buddhist, finding the larger beauty in these dismal lives … [For those] who already love Buk, this book will leave content, drunk, smiles on our faces."––John Yohe
"Bukowski's world is hostile, full of runaway dysfunction, and populated by alcoholics, gamblers, adulterers, and abusers, all with few, if any, redeeming qualities ... It is Bukowski's embrace of this world, his insistence on its validity if not its value, that makes him unique ... Bukowski can be honest and direct, and he is capable of embedding meaningful observations in the most sordid of stories."
"The brevity of the pieces collected here, some no more than two or three pages, suit Bukowski well. … Best to think of his work as a series of dirty Road Runner cartoons in which Bukowski is the coyote taking one damn kick in the pants—front- and backside—after another. At its worst (the hijack fantasy "Fly the Friendly Skies"), Bukowski's sensibility is ugly and coarse. But when he is swinging, there is a companionable ease to his blunt, profane vernacular. Bukowski’s gift was a sense for the raunchy absurdity of life, his writing a grumble that might turn into a belly laugh or a racking cough but that always throbbed with vital energy."
The Paris Review
"Bukowski's The Bell Tolls for No One, recently released in a comic-book-like paperback, follows the hardboiled genre bent that reached its surreal apotheosis in his final novel, Pulp. The obvious influence is to Hemingway—see: the title—but perhaps more interestingly, the editor David Stephen Calonne notes Bukowski's debt to the crime writer James M. Cain, who had also, unbeknownst to me, shaped the style of Camus’s The Stranger. The book includes some of Bukowski’s roughly drawn illustrations, which fall somewhere close to pornographic Ziggy or adult-themed New Yorker cartoons. One features an asthmatic customer at an adult bookstore asking the cashier to inflate his blow-up doll for him; another shows an expressionistically drawn party girl surrounded by gawking men with the caption "God, a woman could get bored." The subject matter is a more amplified version of the usual Bukowski fare—stalwart, sleazebag protagonists; spectral, deathly women with emphatically described upper legs. As always, the most one can hope for in Bukowski’s universe is "a grim yet comfortable isolation."—Casey Henry
"An Interview with David Calonne"
Jun 1, 2015
David Stephen Calonne, editor of The Bell Tolls for No One talks to Beat Scene about Bukowski's underrated short story prowess, his own process of collecting unpublished work by Bukowski, and future projects.
Kevin Ring, Beat Scene