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Ask The Dust Paperback – 11 Nov 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Paperback, 11 Nov 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (11 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184195330X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953304
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Written of and from the gut and the heart . . . Fante was my god" (Charles Bukowski)

"A powerful and moving read" (Guardian)

"A tough and beautifully realised tale - affecting, powerful and poignant" (Time Out)

"Bandini is a magnificent creation, and his discovery is not before time" (Times Literary Supplement)

"This stunning novel, as Charles Bukowski's 1980 foreword outlines, was the reason he became a writer. Is there any better recommendation?" (Uncut) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

With an introduction by Charles Bukowski --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing book. One of my long time favorites.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A writer with a voice
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Format: Paperback
to anyone who feels passionate and yet unable to express him or herself, to anyone who has ever fallen truly in love (and I mean the one where they seep into your veins like a virus and infect your every moment), to anyone who feels ashamed of themselves for no other reasons than those society enforces upon them, and to those who feel that something quite beautiful exists within them and no-one seems to care - please hunt for this book, read every word without missing a single letter, and don't tear from it until you reach the end. A brutal encounter between the Nietzschean quest for total autonomy, and the demands of living in a world where passion and love are not choices, but curses. A narrator who understands himself and his world, yet could not be further from the truth (if there is one). He fights himself, the world, Camilla Lopez, purely because he is caught in an existence where you are what you do yet feel what you are.
for christ's sake read this - I have still not discovered anything quite as beautiful.
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Format: Paperback
I read Ask the Dust for the first time this week, but when I think on it, Fante first came to my attention when I saw the first paragraph of this novel used as the epigraph to Bret Easton Ellis's 1994 collection of stories, The Informers.
"One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out: that was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed."
Probably Ellis intended to use this to infuse his collection with the essence of Fante, as his characters were modern versions of Fante's: feckless, drifting, irresponsible. There the similarities end though, for Ellis's characters derive their plotlessness from an excess of money and unregarded privilege, whereas Fante's have the opposite. Also, Ellis's characters are suffering - to cite the blurb - from the death of the soul, whereas Fante's are bursting with heart and soul from the first page.
Ask the Dust was published in 1939 but it feels entirely fresh. Like his disciple Bukowski (by an embarrassing coincidence, I read what I thought was the opening of Ask the Dust in the bookshop and liked it enough to buy it, only to get home and realise what I had liked so much was the start of the introduction, penned by Charles Bukowski), Fante uses mostly ordinary, unordained language to extraordinarily vivid effect. This makes the occasional fine phrase - 'the waves eating the shore' - all the more arresting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was intrigued to read a writer new to me, but this book did not live up to my expectations. Actually I found it misogynistic in approach and was alienated by the characters of the two women in the book. I know none of the characters are particularly positive, (maybe the point of the book), but I've read enough to see when attitudes to women actually just get in the way of the story. It felt very dated
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Format: Paperback
That other great Californian writer Charles Bukowksi writes in the preface to Ask The Dust that this was the first book he found in LA city library where the words jumped out of the page. Fante writes in a beautifully simple style, following the frustrated Arturo Bandini as he recounts his time in LA, constantly finding himself in love and trouble. Ask The Dust is part of a trilogy in the Bandini series and is probably the best, although Wait Until Spring Bandini and Dreams From Bunker Hill are also excellent novels that have the same simple, powerful unaffected style of John Fante. Fans of his work might be interested in checking out the work of John's son, Dan Fante - whose novel Chump Change is written in a similar style fusing together the old and new worlds of the American city.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A sweet meander through a young writer's mind and through the streets of downtown LA in the 30s. Very modern. Lots of humour. A delight. Buy it.
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Format: Paperback
In "Ask the Dust"John Fante renders a pre-freeway Los Angeles; a Los Angeles that is organically connected to the surrounding environs, constantly reminded by the ever-present dust that it is a desert city.

That desert city was focused on downtown with its train tracks and depots, trolley system and urban grid known today as the "historic core." His alter-ego and anti-hero Arturo Bandini rides the Angel's Flight railway not as a tourist, but as someone who must get down the hill to Broadway for a drink and a pack of cigarettes.

It is a Los Angeles not yet divorced from its western reality, not yet a left coast New York, primed, but not entirely enveloped by the entertainment business. In fact, in a letter to his cousin Jo Campiglia, he describes the book as having "no Hollywood stuff."

Fante's is centered around Bunker Hill; a residential redoubt of ramshackle hotels, fading Victorian mansions, and wood-slatted apartment buildings.

And who resides in the redoubt? Well, the familiar characters of today and yore. But let us bow to Bandini, a struggling writer paying rent by the week for a hotel room; on the cusp of a great literary success:

Dust and old buildings and old people sitting at windows, old people tottering out of doors, old people moving painfully along the dark street. The old folk from Indiana and Iowa and Illinois, from Boston and Kansas City and Des Moines, they sold their homes and their stores and they came here by train and by automobile to the land of sunshine, to die in the sun, with just enough money to live until the sun killed them, tore themselves out by the roots of their last days, deserted the smug prosperity of Kansas City and Chicago and Peoria to find a place in the sun...
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