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Ask the Dust Paperback – February 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (February 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060822554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060822552
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A powerful and moving read - Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

That chapter makes Fante one of the greatest writers ever.
John Doe Blackburn
Getting deeper into the plot, you cant stay indifferent to the young Bandini, his struggle to exist, combined with his love to writting, and you can (you do!)
Ariel
His characters are vivid and believable, and his writing is beautiful.
A. T. A. Oliveira

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Terry A. Green on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Twelve years ago I read an article in the Los Angeles Times in which America's most successful fiction writers were asked to name their top-ten favorite works of 20th Century American fiction. John Fante's "Ask the Dust" was the only title to appear on every author's top-ten list in that article. Since then, I've read "Ask the Dust" twice, as well as every other book by Mr. Fante. Ironically, "Ask the Dust" was published six years before J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" and the similarities between Holden Caulfield and Arturo Bandini are uncanny. The difference is that Arturo is even more impulsive than Holden, if that's possible, and wholly American. You'll want to console Arturo and slap him silly at the same time! Unfortunately, John Fante didn't live to see the latest revival of his work, but Black Sparrow Press has made him a literary star. You will laugh outloud and embrace this book! I promise.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sorry, Charlie. This is the book bukowski was TRYING to write when he wrote FACTOTUM. I love Bukowski, but this is the real thing. It hangs in there. Fante turns the camera on the main character while the others are mere foils for deeper probing. Whereas Bukowski builds a picture of society around his characters, Fante here truly explores values and value through one man's eyes. If you pick this book up and hate it, read it anyway. If you don't understand it, struggle through. If the only other book you've read is the bible, read this. Feel free to be offended, feel rejection and dejection. If you love Bukowski, you'll really like this. If you don't love Buk, that's okay too because Fante keeps the story moving without taking us all the way into the gutter. -Mike
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66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By TUCO H. on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
The first 13 chapters or so are absolutely fantastic, super-poetic, naturalistic writing; as good as most of Hemingway (king of the overrated writers) and post-Death-on-the-Installment-Plan Celine. The deep hatred that's the flipside of love is here in its most brutally tragic and truthful form in the scenes between Camilla and Bandini. Some people don't respond to these scenes because they've never bothered to examine these feelings in themselves (though they've definitely had them), they've just ignored and repressed them. Not Fante. No way! Fante's out to force readers to face these feelings in themselves, and it's so annoying, it hurts! But that's what good naturalistic writing is supposed to do: HURT. If you can't deal with it go read some moralistic, 'sympathetic,' nonsense; there are thousands of books of that type to choose from.
It should be obvious after reading the first chapter why Bukowski liked this book so much. Without Fante there would definitely never have been a Bukowski (whose stuff is distinctly original in subject matter, but much more commonplace in its writing style than this particular book by Fante anyway).
The smell and feel of Los Angeles in the '30s is damn near palpable. Things come alive in concise, economically crafted sentences, on an an almost "Day of the Locust" level.
Starting with the earthquake chapter things run out of steam for a while before picking up again towards the end.
For a simple 'little' book written in 1939 to still continue to affect readers in 2000 is no mean feat. "Ask the Dust" is like a cross between Nathaniel West, William Saroyan, and, yes, good old Bukowski (without the scatology, of course). And though I wouldn't put it on the same level as Hemingway's "Green Hills of Africa," or Celine's "Journey to the End of the Night," it's definitely one for the 'ages' (whatever the hell that means).
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fante's rebel anti-hero, Arturo Bandini, a writer with the honour of having had one short story published in a magazine, strolls into a cafe, in which he meets a Mexican waitress, Camilla Lopez, and they embark on a bizarre and stormy love-hate relationship, eventually descending into the realms of madness. John Fante, one of the greatest of, though unsung, geniuses of American fiction presents here one of the most marvellous of coming-of-age novels. Though the prose is spare, economical and concise, Fante manages to evoke effects of the most opulent splendour and most lyrical subtlety. He also manages to explore, with a great measure of success, the psychological dimension probed by Dostoevsky and Hamsun, in his recording the caprices and the most perverse quirks of his characters' behaviour. Bandini is an endearing creation, conceited, megalomaniacal and sensitive in a sometimes comic, sometimes sympathetic way. Some of the encounters in this book and the satirical banter of the characters is immensely humorous.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Yuzo Otani ( winos18@hotmail.com) on April 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found Fante in the Bukowski's story. I decided to read in English in spite of my rusty language skills. I read at coffee shop in the morning, at lunch time, in my bed, and sometimes with some bottles of Red. This book is a masterpiece. I sympathized to Arturo, I like the man like him, I can understand him and he could understand me. Someone who likes Bukowski would love this book. John fante seized my heart tightly. I need to buy another book shelter for his books. Thank you for Black Sparrow and Amazon.com. I'll order some more Fante's books. ( after I got paid )
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