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The Road to Los Angeles Paperback – May 31, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876856490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876856499
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Fante began writing in 1929 and published his first short story in 1932. His first novel, Wait Until Spring, Bandini, was published in 1938 and was the first of his Arturo Bandini series of novels, which also include The Road to Los Angeles and Ask the Dust. A prolific screenwriter, he was stricken with diabetes in 1955. Complications from the disease brought about his blindness in 1978 and, within two years, the amputation of both legs. He continued to write by dictation to his wife, Joyce, and published Dreams from Bunker Hill, the final installment of the Arturo Bandini series, in 1982. He died on May 8, 1983, at the age of seventy-four.

Customer Reviews

Please read this marvel of a novel by John Fante.
Paul Miller
This book is loaded with interesting characters, wit and self-deprecation.
Qweeb
Character was annoying and it didn't seem to have any point.
Christine Gordon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Ross on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
John Fante's youthful Arturo Bandini is an intriguing, bizarre and absolutely unique character. Growing up poor, in East L.A., Bandini endures a succession of menial jobs to help support his mother and sister. His odd, self-taught upbringing gives him a huge vocabulary and the willingness to employ it at a moment's notice. Bandini is insecure, shy, well-spoken and monumentally unfit for adulthood.
_The Road to Los Angeles_ describes Bandini's rites of passage and inevitable coming of age. Covering his relationships with "hidden women", his attempt at a first novel and a spate of unabashed cruelty towards various creatures, the protaganist is humorous but apparently teetering on the brink of insanity.
Bandini's BB-gun-fueled "war with the crabs" is a wonderfully comic extravaganza of unwarranted viciousness... "I shot crabs all that afternoon, until my shoulder hurt behind the gun and my eyes ached behind the gunsight. I was Dictator Bandini, Ironman of Crabland. This was another Blood Purge for the Fatherland. The had tried to unseat me, those damned crabs... had actually questioned the might of Superman Bandini! Well, they were going to get a lesson they would never forget. This was going to be the last revolution they'd never attempt, by Christ."
Fante is eminently readable and this book was particularly enjoyable. And, yes, I am a fan of Charles Bukowski as well ;-).
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Paul Miller on April 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Road to Los Angeles" is Fante's first novel. He began it in 1933 and finished in 1936. The publishers rejected it and it was published about 50 years later by Black Sparrow press after the authors death. This is Fante's best novel and one of the funniest most enjoyable books I have read to date. Reading this is a wonder and a revelation, the prose raw and fresh, honest and hilarious. The story follows Arturo Bandini, a prideful fool of an eighteen year old as he makes his way in 1930s California. He lives with his mother and sister, works in a cannery, and aspires to be a great writer. Arturo has read too many books and has got hold of some bad philosophy. Fante uses this to poke fun at Nietsche's and Hitler's "superman" weltanschauung (worldview), which the befuddled Arturo pontificates every chance he gets. At the point when Nietzsche loses his mind he is said to have been watching a man whip an old horse, Nietzsche burst into tears and hugs the horse weeping uncontrollably. Fante uses this when in the book Arturo sees an old hunchback woman smiling in the park, his eyes drenced he carries her basket for her. After feeling pure empathy for her life and pain he says goodbye to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and runs home and apologizes to his mother. This doesn't last of course and he goes back to being the same old Arturo. Early in the novel he enacts a hilarious though disturbing blood purge ,"for the good of the Fatherland", against some crabs he imagined had questioned the might of Superman Bandini. Later in the book at times when he is down on himself he refers to himself as a crabkiller. There is much, much more. Please read this marvel of a novel by John Fante.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JoeyD on April 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the first novel of Fante's that I have read and I am interested in reading some more of him. There were times I wanted to throw the whole book in the trash, yet I couldn't stop reading it no matter how terribly repugnant the main character Arturo Bandini was. Arturo is your quintessential megalomaniac and sociopath. At about a third of the way through the novel (page 63 to be exact, when our antihero began torturing flies) I was about to throw in the towel and give up completely. However, something kept me reading. As demented as Arturo was, you can't help but read on to see what in the hell he was going to do and say next. After all, just because you can't stand the main character doesn't necessarily mean that the prose isn't profound. On the contrary, I found Fante to be a very interesting, courageous, and an extremely unique writer. Remember folks, this was written before Bukowski (who thought of him as his 'God') and Toole's classic, Pulitzer prize winning "A Confederacy of Dunces". There is no doubt of the impact he had on both authors and God knows how many countless more. Those of you who love Bukowski and/or Toole's classic should really enjoy this novel by John Fante (his first book, by the way).

I think it is safe to say this novel will never make it in Oprah's book club. Most of the masses will probably not enjoy this at all. On top of being an ego-maniac and a sociopath, Arturo is also sexist, racist, violent, sex-starved, mean-spirited, friendless, indolent, obnoxious, arrogant, profane, completely self-absorbed, etc... ad infinitum. He also enjoys reading Hitler and considers himself a Communist. However, all that being said - he is extremely hilarious to say the least!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book kept me reading!Fante kept me in the peculiar mindset of the main character, Arturo, where Arturo consciously decides to present himself to the world as a jerk; but at the same time Arturo is reflective enough for me to feel sorry for him at times.Fante writes in that gap between who we REALLY are, and how we decide what we're comfortable with showing everyone else.The Road to Los Angeles is accessible, and doesn't hammer the reader with convoluted views about how the world ought to be.Currently, I am reading Ask the Dust. Many people who've critiqued both books by Fante seem to like Ask the Dust much more. I was totally engaged by The Road to LA. Ask the Dust is a decent enough book; but The Road to LA is without question my favorite of the 2.
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