Sunday, October 30, 2011
I love the books of the Los Angeles author John Fante, but I doubt if I will re-read them. I have done that with other authors I adored when young, and they did not strike me as powerful any more. I´m sure John Fante´s books still do, but I think I will just keep them in my memory for a while longer.
As a student in Bergen (long time ago!) I randomly picked up "Wait until spring Bandini" in a shop, and was completely blown away by the prose. Later I realized he was some kind of cult hero, and got his other books too. The four books about Arturo Bandini, "Wait until spring Bandini" (1938), "The road to Los Angeles" (1933), "Ask the dust" (1939) and "Dreams from Bunker Hill" (1982) , are available in a one volume paperback, if you want to try.
John Fante´s son Dan Fante, recently published the biography "Fante" (Harper Perennial 2011). The subtitle "A family's legacy of writing, drinking and surviving" tells it all I guess.
I must admit I did not know Dan Fante, and thought this biography was all about his father. Of course we get the history of John Fante here, and his struggle to survive by writing for Hollywood and his fight to be accepted as a great novelist, but this is just as much a book about the father and son relationship between John and Dan Fante, and Dan´s alcohol and drug fueled life, finally becoming an author himself.
This is from the Fante´s epilogue: "My father was an artist of great rage and passion, perhaps born out of his own time. He was not a nice guy".
A good read, and with lot´s of private photos too.
I might want to read Dan Fante´s book of poetry called "A Gin Pissing, Raw Meat, Dual Carburettor V-8 Son-of-a-Bitch from Los Angeles" (2003), having a tendency to fall for crazy titles like that.