- 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)
Ask The Dust Paperback – 11 Nov 2002
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"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.
With an introduction by Charles Bukowski --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
for christ's sake read this - I have still not discovered anything quite as beautiful.
"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.Read more ›
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...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having read John Fante's 'Ask The Dust' I can now see why it is heralded as an American Contemporary Classic. Read morePublished 3 months ago by K-Cook
Amazing condition the book arrived in.
Recently watched amazing documentary on John Fante on Youtube, really inspiring and interesting guy. Read more
A cult novel that lives up to hype. Genuinly funny (how many books are?), with an intriguing yet erratic main character.Published 17 months ago by Sophia Pederson
My fav book of all time. Loved it to bits. Read it every year. Just beautifulPublished 17 months ago by Crystal Steel
I came across Fante, as do many others, through my love of Bukowski. And this novel is fantastic. A hapless young man's attempts to woo a waitress he falls for winds its way to an... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mexile
Fabulous, poetic and inspired. You should ask the dust too and see what the desert and Bandini have to say. I strongly recommend it.Published on 13 Mar. 2015 by ARTURO