John Fante was born on April 8, 1909 in Devon, Colorado. He wrote about writing and the people and places where he lived and worked, which included Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, the Bunker Hill district of downtown Los Angeles, California, as well as various homes in Hollywood and Malibu. Diabetes cost him his eyesight and led to the amputation of both of his legs. He died in 1983.
John Fante is a great author (but little known, at least in Europe). We can perceive his talent in his lyrical descriptions of Los Angeles, California (where most of his novels are set) and his vivid and somehow cynical portraits of his touching characters.
When I first read John Fante in July 2006, I instantly fell in love with his writing style and his universe. Within a few months I had read many of his books. My favourite is Ask the Dust (1939) which I have already reviewed. That said, I have loved all of Fante’s books. That is why I suggest you discover his novels.
My thoughts about Ask the Dust: This is an intense book which is easy to read. It made me want to read it again and, indeed, I have read it twice. The main character in this book is Bandini. He encapsulates the entire history of an Italian immigrant childhood: the misery, the humiliation of the cheated mother and the beatings of the father. I have considered the possibility that Bandini is Fante, sitting in that dour Bunker Hill apartment, reflecting on a hard life of devastating failures punctuated by occasional successes. Bandini is a young man, among so many other aspiring writers. He only wrote a few books, leading a life in dingy hotel rooms and inspired by sensual love.