- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (4 Aug. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0862419581
- ISBN-13: 978-0862419585
- Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.6 x 1.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,011,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Chump Change ("Rebel Inc") Paperback – 4 Aug 2000
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Dan Fante's debut novel Chump Change is an alarmingly frank and funny tale of a damaged man and his attempts to come to terms with his dying father's unerring fall into the void. Dan's alter-ego Bruno Dante, an intelligent, angry alcoholic, is mourning his own life and his father's tragic demise. His father Jonathon Dante sold his soul to Hollywood rewriting empty scripts when he should have been filling the world with the brutal poetry of his novels (Exactly as, in real life, Dan's father, the superb Los Angeles' writer John Fante (so beloved of Bukowski) had done).
Bruno can't cope with the fact of his blind, limbless father lying in a hospital refusing to actually die so, between losing himself in mindless, immoral sales jobs, he tries to lose himself in the mindless stupor of an almost continual "Mad Dog"-inspired drunken binge. Hooking up with a teenage whore, stealing his brother's car, and running from the hospital afraid to confront the reality of his family life, Bruno is a seriously messed up individual. But the novel, a roman à clef, is the articulation of Dan Fante's own attempts to come to grips with both the squandered and ignored prose of his woefully underrated father and his recent death, and is clearly the moving testimony of a devoted son. It is a paean to John Fante the writer, and a pained shriek of love. Part of a projected Bruno Dante trilogy (which includes the excellent Mooch) Chump Change is a testament to the restorative power of writing and to writing's power to portray both desolation and restoration. --Mark Thwaite
"a brutally honest, sometimes poisonous raging against the system, God, Los Angeles, life in general and the alcoholic's plight in particular. It was also funny, satirical and touching, yet without sentimentality." (Scotland on Sunday)
"Uncommonly well written and has an almost fatal fascination." (The Herald)
"careering from from mishap to disaster in a series of darkly comedic vignettes involving a flea-bitten bull terrier named Roco, a runaway teenage prostiute whose chronic stutter can only be cured by booze, and an interlude working for a telephone dating agency in which Bruno sabotages his career prospects by seducing his first client. Chump Change is a book which drags the reader through every sweat, tremor and degenerate convulsion of the alcoholic's existence." (Daily Telegraph)
Top Customer Reviews
But Dan Fante writes brillianty. As you follow Bruno Dante's alcohol & despair fuelled decline and eventual 'redemption', sentences and phrases will stay in your memory long after you put this book away.
I have read a lot of fiction, but I'd have to say that this book is one that'll I'll always come back to again & again.
Bruno is wounded. His soul and his heart ache for his father's love and acceptance but like Bruno Jonathan was also, for most of his life addicted to alcohol. Jonathan was either lost in a fog of alcohol, in a frenzy of writing...or both. Jonathan was unavailable to Bruno both physically and emotionally and Bruno becoming a writer only made this distance between the two more pronounced not less so. "Loving Jonathan Dante had not been an easy thing for anyone to do...I heard myself say, I Love You (to my father, Jonathan). Saying the words, what I felt was something like sorrow, but it was not sorrow, it was far deeper. It was the emptiness of a hole that would never be filled."
Fante has an uncanny ability to reduce a situation to its well-observed basics: "Seeing L.A. from the Air was more frightening than memory permitted. Real, vivid science fiction. It was just after sundown when we began to land. The natural light of day was gone replaced by billions of smog particles that gave the coming darkness the hue of blood in a draining sink. This enormous, overfed, infected pig of a city rolled across the landscape as far as the eye could see, coughing, snorting and sucking up whatever was once natural and undisturbed."
Many passages in "Chump Change" are laugh out loud funny though most are tragic for what we witness is Bruno's talent being smothered by layers of alcohol, drugs and fear: "I might have written books.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
IF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS HAVE NOT TASTED DAN FANTE, THEY ARE TRULY MISSING THE BOAT!THIS BOOK IS A CLASSIC THAT SHOULD BE ON EVERYONES MUST READ LIST!
I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL BRUNO'S NEXT ADVENTURE!