Fante (1 Viewer)

what is everyones favorite fante book? mine is FULL OF LIFE.
read ROAD TO LOS ANGELAS and was like "man. mother-fucker wrote a bad book..."
i'm sure many disagree. but hey, come-on! lets talk about FANTE...
Favorite is Ask the Dust, followed very closely by Brotherhood of the Grape. Then Full of Life (got a lot of perspective after actually having a child of my own).

For Dan Fante... Mooch.
dan fante...yes...
i would also say mooch. spitting off of tall building is boring and short dog is a just bad...but i also think his poems are best, and chump change is one fucking ride of novel. actuall, chump change is better than mooch. there.
"Ask the Dust" would have to be my favorite (but it is a close call). "wait untill spring...." is one of the greatest books on childhood i've ever read. "Dreams from Bunker Hill" is note worthy for the circumstances it was written under alone . even though "Road to Los Angelas" is Far from Fante's greatest work i still really enjoyed it and would proably read it again.
if memory serves, The road to Los Angeles, was an unedited manuscript abandoned by Fante, and wasn't published until after his death.
you right there his wife and son (Dan) found it after his death. it was rejected when he first sent it out and after that it seems he just forgot about it .
Some of his papers state that Fante thought the piece was too honest and vowed never to write something quite like it again. After being rejected all across the board, he shelved it indefinitely and went to work on other stories.

Buk mentions the piece in one of his letters (or seems to) claiming that Fante wouldn't want his lesser works published.

My opinion (I'm sure you're waiting on pins and needles for this) is that it works fine enough as a novel and provides some serious insight into both Bandini and Fante, but... its the worst of his works. Really disappointing after having read his other stuff...

Still, I'm always grateful for any more of Fante's work. I've still got some uncollected stories to collect from magazines, I think...
Remember that The Road to Los Angeles was Fante's first novel, so it isn't surprising that some would consider it to be a lesser work than the other Bandini novels.

In Cooper's Fante biography he describes how trusted or respected people were pulling Fante in different directions as far as Road is concerned, and how the manuscript was rejected by three publishers (Knopf said it was "unworthy of publication," and rejected it with "particularly great disappointment"). Fante wanted to burn it after the third rejection.

I think Road is very funny, and certainly a precursor to Bukowski's attitude toward, and writing about, work. It's a great beginning to the Bandini saga, but to me, it does read like the work of a young or first time novelist. That's one of it's charms though.
it does read like the work of a young or first time novelist. That's one of it's charms though.
I would definitely agree with you there. It's similar to reading Bukowski's very early stories. Although not as good as his later more mature work they are still very intersting and the majority of the time very good.
Dreams of Bunker Hill

Fante's last. I may have mentioned this before, but I feel like mentioning it again.... I recently reread it and loved it more than the first time - my definition of a personal classic. (I could reread it again today.) He captures perfectly the ambitions and insecurities of YOUTH. He captures that period in L.A... of the almost deserted beaches of his time, and the hopes and wishes of people in the central city who came for their health or for a fresh start. He captures his desperate needs and cataclysmic missteps with women. He deals with a great unexpected emotional loss that catapults him into a new maturity as a man.

After finishing Dreams..., I felt that Fante - had his health stood up - had a number of other novels left in him. I felt the loss of a great writer and why Bukowski loved him - that beautiful, emotionally evocative and flowing prose. There's such natural feeling to it, and he's laying his shortcomings as a young man entirely out in the open. I loved his openness. In fact, that's what I love about Fante and Bukowski - they weren't afraid to honestly portray themselves as bunglers, fools... confused idiots, and not always as heroes. The writing has a humanity that just about anyone can relate to. How glorious for Fante to capture so glowingly his youth while he was blind, dying and being hacked to death periodically by surgeons because of his out-of-control diabetes. He didn't write of the bitterness of old age; instead, he wrote with the same glowing freshness of a twenty-year old - I thought that miraculous at that stage in his life, - and he left an indelible impression on this reader. He was no second-rate Steinbeck that some critics have accused him of, and I'd have to say Dreams... is my personal favorite.
He was no second-rate Steinbeck that some critics have accused him of, and I'd have to say Dreams... is my personal favorite.

I've said it before, but hell, I'll repeat it here:

...Bandini and Dreams... are great, and IMO, the best of his works.

I read ...Bandini first, and rushed out to the bookstore to find more, and Dreams... was all they had. I liked it even more than ...Bandini.
Hell, Steinbeck was a second-rate Old Testament plagiarizer so whatever lit critic(s) leveled that charge against Fante is outta their mind. Steinbeck did not have an original bone in his being, he even had to dress up his dramatic-enough family history ("East of Eden") as an Old Testament saga.

With that much said, "Dreams of Bunker Hill" is the best that Fante produced. I have a soft spot for "Ask the Dust" but it's sentimental in nature and one must put sentiment aside to truly judge good lit. "Dreams" is a tighter and more disciplined work. It does not matter that the text was dictated by Fante. Writing is writing, no matter what the instrument.
Hi Purple Stickpin,

I also preferred Dreams over Bandini. I didn't have much luck with Bandini and never felt the desire to reread it. So much centers around the Italian culture, and unless the reader can identify with it, it might not hold his or her interest, just speaking for myself. But in Dreams I felt that his themes were more universal in scope - youth! ambition! love! loss! - and not as centered in his ethnic roots. I never felt that anything was standing in the way of my appreciation. He could have been talking about anyone from any culture with stars in his or her eyes. It's hard to put into words how much I admire the totality of his final novel! I was greatly moved by it... even just thinking about it... and it was so miraculously free of "writer's fatigue," sometimes found in the later works of some famous writers. Henry Miller was another who was able to stay fresh until the very end at 88. These great men. Inspiring! Best wishes.


Loved your every word. So true! I have similar feelings about Ask the Dust compared to Dreams - Dust seems perhaps a little dated, while it still has some beautiful, heartfelt writing and has one of my all-time favorite Fante passages. I know you know the one... where it starts happening for him as a writer:

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 ....

Oh yeah... I can imagine Bukowski stopped in his tracks when he came upon that for the first time. And it still reads fresh almost 70 years later. It's thrilling and I believe it'll keep Ask the Dust alive for a long long time. Happy reading. Cheers.
I've had the keyword "FANTE" programmed into my TiVo for a year and nothing has come up as a match so far.

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