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The Road to Los Angeles Paperback – Nov 1986


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Product details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Black Sparrow Press (Nov 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876856490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876856499
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 1.1 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 784,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The Road to Los Angeles was John Fante's first novel, written in 1933, where he introduced readers to the brash young Arturo Bandini. Bandini is a self-proclaimed genius, a Nietzchean superman, knocking on the door of literary fame and fortune, surrounded by ignorance and fools. Or so he likes to believe, as he flits from menial job to job, despising all whose views are beneath him.

In this savage, uncompromising debut novel Fante has written a coming-of-age classic which easily compares with The Catcher in the Rye but predates it by several decades. This is the first in the four-book Arturo Bandini cycle of novels ans was discovered posthumously among his paper in 1983. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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I had a lot of jobs in Los Angeles Harbor because our family was poor and my father was dead. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A.C. on 19 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
When I first read John Fante I felt as if I had a great new friend, someone I wished I had known all my life. If you like books that communicate eternal, human truths to you, books that remind you of the way you felt when you were growing up, and the way you still feel today, then you will love John Fante. It's a shame the Fante never achieved much recognition when he was living and working, and that he is not as famous as he should be today, but I'm just glad he ever wrote anything at all.

"The Road to Los Angeles" is the first novel John Fante wrote, and it is probably the weakest of the books I have read so far (I am still making my way through all the books ever written by him). It's the weakest, but it still manages to make you shiver with recognition at the pure, emotional honesty of the writing. It still delights you with the orchestral, flowing sentences that are a John Fante trademark, sentences that can make you laugh and almost cry at the same time. (Try not to read John Fante on the bus, or people will look at you funny). This book seems to be John Fante finding his style, honing his craft and working out when he can go over the top, and when he should restrain the raw emotion and exaggerations that gush out of his prose sometimes.

Like many of John Fante's available books "The Road to Los Angeles" tells the story of Arturo Bandini, a compulsive, emotional young Italian American who feels that he has a calling to a higher purpose, and has a hilariously unshakeable confidence that he will soon escape the drudgery of his life. In this instalment of the Bandini saga, young Arturo is eighteen, he has just left school, and he finds himself having to support his mother and sister with a succession of menial jobs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jan 1999
Format: Paperback
Normally a harsh critic of contemporary American literature, I was stunned by this book and by Fante's inimitable talent. Words that come to mind when I think of his work are: raw, genuine, sharp, to-the-bone. The absence of stylizing is a welcome relief, like going from a stuffy, closed room into the cold night air. Fante reminds me of an unself-conscious, unfettered Hemingway. His main character, Arturo, is wonderfully self-absorbed, but the writing is not. And that combination drills into the human character without fear or shame. Fante makes no excuses for his alter-ego; he strips him of any of the dignity of privacy. And we are granted a rare view of our own humanness. I first read Fante in 1985. After "Ask the Dust" I wanted more of his work but couldn't find it on the east coast. I contacted a book broker and had the good fortune to acquire a lettered first of this one...something I would normally never bother to do. But this book is, without a doubt, an American classic...as is Fante himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 May 1998
Format: Paperback
Why do I, a foreigner, have to write the only review on such a marvelous book. Hey, it was written ages ago, and it could have been written yesterday. Fante's writing is the purest and best in his first novel. So far, far ahead of his time. Makes me think you can't learn how to write. You either are or aren't, and very few are. . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
I'd never heard of American writer John Fante before being recommended this book. I had no idea what to expect but knew that John Fante has attracted attention as a significant American writer of the 1930s era.

In The Road to Los Angeles we read a first person account of a year or two in the life of aspiring writer Arturo Bandini, a young man still living with his mother and younger sister and trying to support them by working at menial jobs for minuscule wages.

Bandini seems to have a touch of ego-mania, believing he is called to higher things but full of frustrations of all types - sexual, professional, familial and also with a hefty does of status-anxiety. He believes he is a gifted writer in the making although as the book opens this seems to be more aspiration than reality and it is only towards the end of the book that he finally gushes out a vast sprawling novel which seems to be an example of the "angry young man" genre.

I found Bandini to be a pretty repulsive character. Vivid bursts of verbal abuse, largely targeted at innocent bystanders reveal him to be racist, sexist and full of contempt for almost everyone he encounters. He is seems to be without friends and almost completely alienated from his family. No doubt this comes from his sense of bewilderment that he, a great writer, has to work for 25 cents an hour in a canning factory and use a broom-cupboard as his study.

Much of the book consists of a sub-Joycean stream of consciousness as Bandini struggles to understand the injustice of his life, taking out his frustration on various small creatures along the way (a well-known trait of young psychopaths!). As well as being a threat to all small creatures, Bandini is also a nightmare to his employers and his fellow-workers.
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By A Customer on 12 Jun 1998
Format: Paperback
Fante shows that everything is there and you are powerful enouph to take it. He is what is. Everything he writes your eyes will go over and over again. From the battle with the crabs under the bridge to his special place in his closet. This book is the best book I have read and I know I will ever read. Authorty and hard work sucks is the main theme in the book. Independence will only come if you take it. I also hope you don't buy this book from this scam of a book seller. I hope you read it for free in some libary or you rip it off from some dork who has no idea how to read but thinks carring around Fante and Bukowski novels is the cool thing to do.
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