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Don't wait until Spring, buy this now!
on 8 October 2000
John Fante started out in the thirties as a short story writer and a novelist. This is his earliest published novel. The chief character, Bandini, is obviously autobiographical. It is based on the time immediately before he moved to California in 1930, it was first published in 1938. This edition has a useful introduction by his son Dan.
Why should you read him? Well, it's the classic American tale of a writer's adolescence. All Fante's later work mined the same vein, gradually getting older.
Why haven't you heard of him? Well, in Hollywood he did this and that and neglected his career. Before Charles Bukowski mentioned that he was his favourite novelist he was almost forgotten.
Read him because he tells great stories in clean pure prose. This is the first sentence I read when I open the book at random."He fell to wondering about her, his eyes bulging with curiosity for her protected world, so sleek and bright, like the rich silk that defined the round luxury of her handsome legs. " HONEST, THE FIRST RANDOM SENTENCE. Four, or five, worse American writers have got the Nobel prize.(*)
You don't read stuff like this, it sucks you in and lets you off at the other end.
(*) Three are Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck and Pearl S. Buck(!). I don't dare mention the fourth. Over the majority of his career, weighed book by book he is better than Hemingway. Not sure how that counts in the balance.