Ask the Dust
She said, "Matt, everyone thinks they're Holden Caulfield." God, adults can be so stupid sometimes. Obviously she didn't understand that this was something meaningful -- mystical, really -- that was happening to me. Or, to quote another influential poet of my youth, "parents just don't understand."
Flash forward another fourteen years, the la ...more
My plight drove me to the typewriter. I sat before it, overwhelmed with grief for Arturo Bandini. Sometimes an idea floated harmlessly through the room. It was like a small white bird. It meant no ill-will. It only wanted to help me, dear little bird. Bu...more
And my introduction to the fiction of John Fante is Ask the Dust, his 1939 novel considered by some scholars and educators to be one of the best works of fiction set in the Great Depression and the best set in Los Angeles. Superlatives like those could work against the book's vitality, which is palpable. Fante's narrator--destitute twenty year old boy Arturo Bandini struggling against hunger, wanting and creative resistance--lacks the worldl ...more
I started off tearing into this book with the momentum I tore through Bukowski, which isn't to say that I love Bukowski, I don't, but I tore through his works. It's easy shit to tear through.
So I read the overwhelmingly positive Bukowski introduction and I'm off and running. I have a strange fasination with early 20th century LA. I couldn't say why. I have lived in San Francisco the majority of my life and been to LA 3-4 times. I couldn't care less ...more
And I answer, the sea is back there, back in the reservoir of memory. The sea is a myth. There never was a sea. But there was a sea! I tell you I was born on the seashore! I bathed in the waters of the sea! It gave me food and it gave me peace, and its fascinating distances fed my dreams! No, Arturo, there never was a sea. You dream and you wish, but you go on through the wasteland. You will never see the sea again. It was a myth you once believed. But, I have to smile, for the salt of the sea i...more
It's been said that Joyce's Finnegan's Wake is a collection of all things in the wo ...more
An example of Fante's ostensible solipsism. "War in Europe, a speech by Hitler, trouble in Poland, these were the topics ...more
The protagonist, Arturo Bandini, is a lot of fun to ready about. A young and passion ...more
Ask the Dust functions as Arturo Bandini's (fictional) first person account of his rising and falling and rising (etc.) as a young Colorado writer new to California. Arturo wanders around Los Angeles, writes in his spartan hotel room, and makes a shitloa ...more
I rated this 4 stars because, when I first read it in the early 1980s, it riveted me. I've taken a star off because after 30-plus years the chances are it's not going to get close to 5 stars, since I've read so very much more by now.
Well, we shall see. I've Kindled it up, it's a short book (under 200pp), and I feel daring.
While I was reading the book I was determined that I would rate it with a single star. Arturo was a misogynist , racist, arrogant and self-centered. The plot was rather boring. The narration after a certain point was becoming annoying(although there were some great scenes tbh). The characters were flat, irritating and I just couldn't relate to them or like them. I found myself detesting most of them. I only felt bad for Camilla..
But then the ending happened and it changed everything. I fin...more
Bandini, is an egotistical, delusional and obsessive character, but also essentially a sensitive and tortured soul. His pursuit of love i ...more
Bukowski loves this book and this writer - he apparently stumbled across t ...more
Absolutely one of the greatest reads I've ever experienced.
Bukowski (an acolyte of the author) wrote the preface.
A poem Bukowski wrote inspired by the author is included at the end of the book.
This is a funny yet wistful story about a struggling young writer who eventually achieves success and falls in love with a Mexican waitress... serious calamity ensues.
Intense and beautiful.
Recommended to all Charles Bukowski fans -truly a must-own.
John Fante's Ask the Dust is still one of the best Los Angeles novels ever written. Its scenes in the now-demolished Bunker Hill neighborhood and its description of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake are priceless pictures of a bygone Southern California. One of the ...more
My interest in "Ask the Dust" came about when I saw the somewhat recent film based on the book starring black Irishman Colin Farrell. Of course, the film butchers the book, but that is what one comes to expect from culturally-hollow Hollywood.
Charles Bukowski would also state of "A ...more
I hated Arturo Bandini, and Camilla Lopez seemed like a character written by a man who doesn’t much like women, and is ...more
Also, in terms of characterization, I love how Fante makes me "realign" my thoughts on Arturo Bandini from chapter to chapter. One page, I think he's a bastard, and the next, he has me laughing; and the next, he's making a woeful observati ...more
In 1929, he dropped out of college and moved to Southern California to concentrate on his writing. He lived and worked in W ...more