I read "Post Office" yesterday, and "Factotum" today. It's obvious that he honed his craft and became more comfortable with the format between his first and second novels. With that said, I think I preferred the rawer, and funnier, "Post Office." "Factotum," like "Post Office," had moments of brilliance, and moments of humor, but I think I preferred the latter. In my review of "Post Office," I pasted a few quotes in that I liked. I'll do the same here.
I felt that the following section really seems more fitting now, in this shit recession, than ever:
"Because I had claimed two years of college on my application, I got the job as Coconut Man. The Coconut Man stood up on a perch, scooped his shovel into the shredded coconut barrel and dumped the white flakes into a machine. The machine did the rest: it spit coconut on the cakes and other sundry items passing below."
As far as sheer gut-busting laughter, this one really got me:
"The dishwashers were hired at noon. I stepped out of the office. Forty bums stood there. 'All right now, we need five good men! Five good
ones! No winos, perverts, communists, or child-molestors! And you've got to have a social security card! All right now, get them out and hold them up in the air!'
Out came the cards. They waved them.
'Hey, I got one!'
'Hey, buddy, over here! Give a guy a break!'
I slowly looked them over. 'O.K., you with the shit-stain on your collar,' I pointed. 'Step forward.'
'That's no shit stain, sir. That's gravy.'
'Well, I don't know, buddy, looks to me like you been eatin' more crotch than roast beef!'
'Ah, hahaha,' went the bums, 'Ah, hahaha!'"