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Ask the Dust by John Fante

Ask the Dust (1939)

by John Fante

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bandini (3)

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2,357404,066 (3.87)50

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English (29)  Spanish (5)  Italian (4)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I read this in tandem with a friend who hated the novel. Quite the contrary, I really liked it, the everyday struggle is sprinkled with lyricism. I agree that often this glitter is misogynistic and racist. Fante succeeds here. There is no need to rationalize for his characters' biases and imperfections. This is a gritty novel of mixed fortunes. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading this book. It's the gritty story of Arturo Bandini, a young Italian aspiring writer living in Los Angeles who is infatuated with Camilla Lopez, a Mexican woman who works at a cafe he visits. She spurns his advances, yet he loves her more. Bandini is suspicious of Sammy the bartender, thinking that Sammy is the reason Camilla will pay him no attention. The story is written in a kind of rambling style, but it is very detailed and colorful with vibrant, assertive characters.

My copy of the novel had an Introduction by Charles Bukowski which I didn't read until I finished the book, but I can see why he identified this novel as "a wild an enormous miracle to me." It reflected the way Charles Bukowski wrote although Fante's novel was published in 1938.

I enjoyed that I couldn't guess what was going to happen next. I even got chills reading the ending. I understand that there are three more novels by the same author about Arturo Bandini. I'd love to read them all at a later date. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Sep 21, 2018 |
The author is apparently well regarded for his time. I didn't care for the story; the writing is emotional so that it comes alive. Everyday people populate the story, rather on the down side of things, but those can be the most realistic kind. These characters were flawed in big ways and at times I wanted to tell the main character to wake up. We all come to life with different experiences. Somehow, I believe the story will be memorable to some. There's no sugar coating and yet, it is tastefully told, probably because of the time in which it was written. ( )
2 vote Rascalstar | Dec 29, 2017 |
This was an ok book, I fancied a change from crime fiction.
Its the story set in LA 1939 of writer Arturo Bandini he lives hand to mouth when he gets a story published he blows all his money as soon as he receives it.
He falls in love with a waitress called Camila Lopez its more of a love hate relationship.
Will he get with her properly or will he leave it to late.
Camilla ends up in the mad house she gets out and disappears into the desert. ( )
  Daftboy1 | May 26, 2017 |
Fante's book was published during WWII (1939) but before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This will not be read widely now due to its racist and misogynist connotations. It is still an important piece of writing describing Los Angeles while it was still young as a population center.
Fante shows some existentialist musings from the point of view of an ex-Catholic. The main character, Bandini, wishes to live as a Nietzsche-Voltairian but nevertheless still die holding to Catholicism as forgiveness is always given there for earthly wrongs committed. Famous scenes occur around Los Angeles including a drive down Wilshire Blvd. to frolic on the beach in Santa Monica, Placita Olvera, and a undescribed visit to the original LA County Hospital. This book is an interesting mix of elements which have been developed by other writers elsewhere to great effect.
The title Ask The Dust comes from the daily city dust which gathers in Bandini's room and typewriter, as well as the airborne powder which dusts the city after an earthquake.
This short book belongs in the library of every aficionado of Los Angeles, dreary as it may be. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jun 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of Ask the Dust, by John Fante. Today it's widely regarded as a classic of American literature; many have declared it the finest novel ever to emerge from Los Angeles. In addition to critical praise, the book has also found popular success, appearing on bestseller lists in both the US and Europe. In 2006 it was even made into a Hollywood film, starring Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell. But Fante's masterpiece has not always enjoyed such prominence. In fact, its journey to its current status has been long and highly unusual.


» Add other authors (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Fanteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bukowski, Charlessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flothuis, MeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Joyce, with love
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One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060822554, Paperback)

This book is another sterling recommendation from the Saltzman workshop. The under-appreciated Fante's second outing details the adventures of his alterego, Arturo Bandini, as the struggling young writer tackles Los Angeles in the late 1930s. And take it from personal experience, tackling L.A. as a destitute young scribe some decades later isn't much different. In other words: Fante gets it right and sets it down in his Chianti-steak-and-potatoes style, with prose both simple and rich. This Black Sparrow edition has a bonus: Charles Bukowski's great preface on how Fante stacks up against writers that were at once more famous--and far more anemic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Young Arturo Bandini comes to Los Angeles to be a writer. A disappointing love affair and his poverty prove bitter and disillusioning.

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