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Chump Change ("Rebel Inc") Paperback – 4 Aug 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Product description

Amazon Review

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)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 20 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
I've only had this book for a couple of months, but I must have read it at least 5 or 6 times. I thought that this style of writing had been exhausted by Bukowski and numerous others - and done very badly by a lot of them.
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.
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Format: Paperback
"Chump Change" is Bruno Dante's memoir of his life after being released from a "nut house" in the Bronx and his journey, both psychic and literal, home to Malibu to see his dying father, Jonathan Dante ("Ask the Dust"). "In this house, I was to experience what happens when a passionate artist gives up what he does and comes to detest himself."

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.
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By A Customer on 28 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of fresh, clear, honest writing that I adore. This guy writes with a brutal honesty and an economic style. This is the best contemporary read I've had in ages. None of his peers come close. Of all the three Bruno Dante books, this is definitely the best. I highly recommend this book to any fan of straight talking and straight writing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.6 out of 5 stars 20 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down and Out in L.A. 25 Jun. 2001
By Kirk Alex - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It becomes harder and harder to find anything good to read these days, the no b.s. real thing--and in Dan Fante's Chump Change I am happy to say that I have discovered a real winner! The man can write. Once it arrived in the mail from SPD and I started reading there was no way to put it down--always a good sign. Powerful tale that rings true and authentic--I know, because I once lived in that hellhole called L.A. No disrespect meant towards his diceased father, the also fine writer John Fante, but the son is even better. The writing is so strong and hard-hitting that I put it right up there with John O'Brien's Leaving Las Vegas (although story is entirely different ); the all out style and way of telling his story places this author in the same unique league as Pleasant Gehman, Charles Bukowski, Clarence Cooper, Jr., Robert Beck (Iceberg Slim) Celine, Nat West, etc. Can't wait to get my hands on Mooch, his latest. To any other book lovers out there, fans of great fiction, who are like me and gave up on the b.s. that is tv and Hollywood flicks a long time ago, I suggest to look up Small Press Distribution or Last Gasp Press for the hard to find well-written gems--as this is how I discovered Dan Fante's Chump Change. Why should it be so difficult for us to find works of art like this book and others like it when so much tripe is out there and placed on bestseller lists by the major publishing houses? you got me there--because I never believe the bestseller lists and never, ever buy anything that is placed right there on tables in the lobby of the major chain stores--because I know it is pure crap, and because it bothers me to know that the true talents like Mr. Dan Fante and others like him have to "sneak in" the back door of publishing by first being published by the smaller indie houses in order to get any recognition at all. So if you can relate to what I'm saying here ignore the junk the big houses are putting out and go for the real thing like this certified modern classic. We loved Chump Change and wish Mr. Fante all the best in the future. Give us more!
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't get it 10 Jun. 2014
By Deb Oestreicher - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I understand that a lot of people think this is a great book--for insight into alcoholism and a sort of don't-give-a-damn depravity, I suppose. I found it a slog. The author doesn't provide much--if anything--in the way of sympathetic characters, and without that it's hard to care what happens. At the end I was just glad to be able to put the book down and give it away.
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book 4 April 2014
By alix - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author can really write and he's got an interesting story to tell. His voice is authentic, his vulnerability and humor completely charming. You are being worked by a pro. i'm going to read everything he's written.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHUMP CHANGE 9 Nov. 2006
By Albert C. Marth - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase



1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smell the booze on his breath 21 Oct. 2004
By J. Stallings - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dan Fante write in strong clear prose so beautiful you will embrace his whiskey soaked loser of a protagonist. Yup he's that good. Bukowski meets Chandler on really good day, thats roughly what it reads like. Only Fante has a voice all his own. He paints a vivid if not a bit blurry picture of Los Angeles, the west side in particular. And when this guy writes, you can smell the booze on his breath.
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