Fante Revisited (1 Viewer)

Dear Friends, Freaks and Fools,

Glad to one of them.


I can understand why some readers are not drawn irrevocably to Fante.

Ask the Dust has some memorable, lyrical and singing passages, but feels somewhat dated to yours truly. Still memorable though.

Wait Until Spring, Bandini overemphasized the focus upon the Italian family idiom, which for me lessened some of its accessibility and appeal.

BUT, I consider The Road to Los Angeles, and 1933 Was a Bad Year, to be masterpieces"”and would recommend these to anyone after Bukowski's great introduction to Ask the Dusk and that particular novel itself.

If only Fante could have freed himself from the Hollywood sausage machine earlier"”or never have gotten caught in its cogs from the beginning"”and given himself a chance to write himself out to maturity like Bukowski did. He was a naturally pure, evocative writer with a beautiful clean line and the genius to pull out feelings through the power of the word and an engaging story. Even now I can feel the beauty of the feelings he pulled out of me in those two novels, and the promises and hopes of youth! I also think this is a reflection of Fante's own goodness and talent that he, for some inexplicable reason"”lack of confidence?"”, never entirely believed in. It cost him dearly, health included, and he knew it. I look forward to rereading the two novels I mentioned sometime soon, but, again, I was disappointed with what struck me as the Italian sentimentality in Bandini, and also in the Brotherhood of the Grape. This seemed to lessen their creative fire and dramatic intensity"”and what I'm saying is no slam against Italians, whom I love. I just wonder how many readers gave up before ever getting to my two favorite Fante novels. I would guess"”most. I'm glad to find out that my library has both.

Bottoms up . . . . Poptop
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i've never read any of fantes work
and just recently mjp recommended 'ask the dust'
it's at the top of my reading list
thanks for the info re: the other masterpieces
i'll be on them asap

*puff, puff...pass*
Got Genius? The Trap Fante Likely Fell Into

It's happened to others"”it can happen again. Here's one example of a writer who finally awoke from his Hollywood "dream""”i.e., nightmare"”and got away from the tentacles of his entrapment. Stirling Silliphant, mega-successful screenwriter, eventually sold off his every possession late in life and moved his butt half-way around the world to Thailand and finally became his own man as a writer"”the kind of writer he regretted not having become years before.

Once a writer is lured upon the rocks by the seductive financial sirens"”that is, if he has the talent of a literary genius"”he may find that it almost takes an act of God to get out and save the remaining fragments of his creative life.

In Fante's case, the miracle is that he still had enough left of himself, after the exhaustion of the screen-writing drain, to write the novels he did. But oh, what might he have wanted to do!"”to be able to do!"”if he could have broken away and become his own man years earlier? That he left behind the heartfelt treasures he did"”is a cause for rejoicing.



"Interview with Screenwriter Stirling Silliphant on Writing" [excerpts]

My advice to young writers is: before you get trapped into the home in Bel-Air, the alimony payments, the two Porsches"”you want to write.... And the way you do that is to write out of passion, write what you believe in, write for yourself"”and market it.

If I could start my career over again, I would not make the mistakes I made. Instead of pursuing that unilateral, individual, make-your-own-choice-career, I let myself be beguiled and seduced and dazzled by all kinds of offers which poured in because, suddenly, I had become quite "hot." The result was I was offered a lot of assignments, and for the next number of years I wrote different things that people called me to write.

You don't really have to know much about the human condition to write those [Hollywood] scripts. We are saved, however, by a few good people: the Woody Allens [etc.] of the world who really care about trying to do something special with people.

My writing is always character- and not plot-oriented. I tend to try to create some kind of poetic feeling within the dialogue. I'd say the nearest thing to my style is kind of a strange mixture between Clifford Odets and Raymond Chandler. Instead of just taking the bare words, what I try to do is get underneath them poetically into their concept. So when the dialogue comes out, it reveals the attitude of the person saying it. That really takes a lot of hard work, but that's the difference between really writing and just putting down shit.

When I got here I got the siren call: "Oh, God"”you can save us! Can you write this in two weeks?" And suddenly it was 30 years later. And there's nobody to blame in that except myself.

....That's true [that film making is a collaborative medium]. But what is the collaboration? If you're collaborating with David Puttnam and Bertolucci, Norman Jewison, Sidney Pollack"”yes. But what if you're collaborating with the 500 other idiots who are below your talent level and they have the power. What kind of a collaboration is that?....If you put yourself into a working situation with a group of people of less talent, whatever happens to you, you deserve. And I have made, as many of us in the industry have made, judgment mistakes because I might have been anxious at the particular moment to change the Mercedes into a Maserati. And all I was looking at was, down the line, the big bucks. And that's where the betrayal comes, the seduction.

Question: You mean by using writing as a means to an end?

Answer: Precisely. Rather than being a pure writer. You see, this is why I felt it necessary to get rid of all the trappings, all the material stuff....

[Stirling Silliphant died in 1996"”in Thailand]

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Fante In The Flow Of The Go

i've never read...

Hi Bongobill,

You might give the two titles I mentioned a go. Then
see how the others grab you.

Fante excerpt from Ask the Dust:

And then, like a dream it came, out of my desperation it
came"”an idea, my first sound idea, the first in my entire
life, full-bodied and clean and strong, line after line, page
after page. A story about Vera Rivken.

I tried it and it moved easily. But it was not thinking, not
cogitation. It simply moved of its own accord, spurted out
like blood. This was it. I had it at last. Here I go, leave me
be, oh boy do I love it. Oh God do I love you, and you Camilla
and you and you. Here I go and it feels so good, so sweet and
warm and soft, delicious, delirious. Up the river and over the
sea, this is you and this is me, big fat words, little fat words,
big thin words, whee whee whee.

Breathless, frantic, endless thing, going to be something big,
going on and on, I hammered away for hours....


I love that passage! The exaltation of youth. The miracle of
discovery. The creative wash of a lifetime.

*glub glub...pour*, lol.
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i've just finished 'the wine of youth'
it was fantastic
read one story to my ten year old son
i returned the book and do not recall the title
it was about the death of a young cousin
that had been run down by a truck while bicycling
it brought tears to my eyes
(the boy was amused)

thanks for the tantalizing excerpt
and the recommendations

i enjoy your avatars
and reading your posts
i'm about to begin John Fante's collection of stories, "The Big Hunger", tonight. but last night i read Dan Fante's "Spitting from Tall Buildings". he seems alot more bitter and fucked up than Buk, there's alot more suicidal tendencies but the light shines through at the end when he ends up taking care of his neighbour's twin girls for awhile. i enjoyed it, but his style is more brutal than Buk and not as darkly humourous.
i'm about to begin John Fante's collection of stories, "The Big Hunger", tonight.

haven't heard of that collection. i cldn't get into THE WINE OF YOUTH (poptop said it above.) or the novella DREAMS FROM BUNKER HILL (He was ill and it was dictated, right?) but FULL OF LIFE and MY DOG STUPID from WEST OF ROME (i forget the other novella/story incorporated) are life-affirming, laughing, portraits...whatever:they're WORTH reading...idiots!
hello guys , dan fante is more fucked up than bukowski, and writes about similar experiences, but i think he makes the experiences his own. read: CHUMP CHANGE, MOOCH, SPITTING OFF TALL BUILDINGS. the guy seems really friendly though. i emailed him a couple years ago and we had a little dialogue going. he even sent me a downloadable version of a collection of short stories he was working on then - that i think has been published in france - cant think of the title - i think he wanted to call it CORKSUCKER - or something along those lines. he also wrote a play called BOILER ROOM and has a book of poetry out. i dont like the poetry so much, but what are you gonna do? CHUMP CHANGE is all about his dealing with his father's death and has a great, great ending. i think. anyway - gotta go.

although i really enjoyed Dan Fante's Spitting Off Tall Buildings, i started his father's collection The Big Hunger last night, and it just didn't grab me in the same way. it's well-written, and his different narratorial styles are interesting, but... i don't know, i just kept finding myself losing interest, picking up a Buk instead and re-reading various parts.
although perhaps i should try Ask the Dust next, you guys all recommend it, and so did a friend i spoke to last night.

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