Arturo Bandini is a twenty-year-old burgeoning writer, spending his days hungry for success, life and food in a dingy hotel in Los Angeles. Full of the enthusiasm of youth, and the thrill of having one short story published, the reality of poverty and prejudice has hit him hard. He meets a local waitress, Camilla Lopez, and embarks on a strange and strained love-hate relationship. Slowly, but inexorably, it descends into the realms of madness. Fante depicts the highs and lows of the emotional state of Bandini with conviction, but without easy sentiment. In Ask the Dust, Fante is truly 'telling it like it is' as a poverty-stricken son of an immigrant in 'perfect' California.
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This book is another sterling recommendation from the Saltzman workshop. The under-appreciated Fante's second outing details the adventures of his alterego, Arturo Bandini, as the struggling young writer tackles Los Angeles in the late 1930s. And take it from personal experience, tackling L.A. as a destitute young scribe some decades later isn't much different. In other words: Fante gets it right and sets it down in his Chianti-steak-and-potatoes style, with prose both simple and rich. This Black Sparrow edition has a bonus: Charles Bukowski's great preface on how Fante stacks up against writers that were at once more famous--and far more anemic.About the Author:
JOHN FANTE was born in 1909 to poor Italian-American parents in Colorado. Following a hard and religious upbringing, he ventured west in the 1930s to become a writer. After publishing four superb but commercially disappointing novels, he became a successful screen writer, but never forgave himself for leaving his true calling. He died in 1980.
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