Moments in time captured with various odd symbols referred to in the lingua franca as letters.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John Fante

I read the Road to Los Angeles when I was still in undergrad at FSU. It was part of a creative writing course and it was supposed to get us into exploring new ways of writing prose. At the time I had a sort of love/hate relationship to the book and though I knew that Fante had written some more stories using the same character, I didn't jump at any opportunities to read on.

That all changed three days ago. I was at the Berlin Library and looking for books in English which can be a trying experience (to be fair they have a great selection but you have to order most of them in advance if you want to get them, so browsing is not the optimal way to do things) and there it was in front of me: Fante's Ask the Dust. I picked it up with a feeling in my gut that this was probably not going to be the most exciting book I had read recently but whatever it was there and why not have a go. I had a go and its been a rollercoaster of an experience. The prose is straight from Fante's mind and onto the paper. At times it becomes impossible to separate the author from the main character Arturo Bandini (essentially himself, but in fiction format). At other times I was so lost in the story that I couldn't put the book down.

Note: its not for the weak of heart, and not for people who like happy endings. After all its John Fante and there is a good reason that Charles Bukowski thought he was god.

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