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The Big Hunger Paperback – May 31, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fante, who died in 1983, is receiving some belated recognition for novels like Ask the Dust and Wait Until Spring, Bandini. His biographer, Stephen Cooper, has unearthed 18 previously uncollected stories that Fante wrote over 27 years, ranging from derivative and self-indulgent juvenilia to intelligent and meaningful tales of the immigrant experience. "Prologue to Ask the Dust" is essentially a pr cis of the novel, displaying a savage energy and sense of immediacy. This and several other stories bring the Los Angeles of some 60 years ago to life. In the memorable "Mary Osaka, I Love You," Filipino dishwasher Mingo Mateo falls in love with the daughter of his Japanese employer. Mingo's friends are violently opposed to the union, but Mingo and Mary argue that politics and race should not interfere with love. They elope to Las Vegas and marry on December 7, 1941. "Bus Ride" is another, tenser tale of interracial attraction, this time between a Filipino man and a European-American woman. Fante himself was Italian and there are several stories about Italian immigrants. A family in "The Bad Woman" unite to keep a son and brother from making what they believe is a bad marriage. "The Sins of the Mother" tells of a formidable matriarch who is determined that her beautiful daughter not marry a truck driver. Like many of the stories in the volume, this one echoes with understated passion, though the prose is calm and the dialogue polite. The collection is uneven, but weaker pieces are outweighed by those that show Fante's heartbreaking and precise vision in top form.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574231200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574231205
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Thank you Mrs. Fante for saving this piece and countless others of John Fante's work. It is so great to read Bandini after not having anything "new" for years. I have read the book twice in the 45 days I've had it. Bandini lives on! Bukowski said it best, "You should all read John Fante. That was one tough son-of-a-bitch!"
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Format: Paperback
Until you've read "Jakie's Mother", a short story in the pages of The Big Hunger, you haven't experienced truth in our artform.
The stories of The Big Hunger are many and varied and show a number of different writing styles. This is a great book and one worth keeping.
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Format: Paperback
While I do recommend this collection, I can't give The Big Hunger five stars only because I love Fante and have read all of his published work, and these stories are not his best work, which can be transcendent. I wouldn't want anyone to buy this collection imagining this is a good place to start with this author. Of course, if you also are a Fante fan, you'll want to read this and you won't be disappointed, as long as you accept it as a collection of miscellaneous pieces. But they are unmistakably, recognizably Fante, and I'm grateful for any scrap I can get. Moreover, there are some very, very good pieces here. The prologue to Ask the Dust, for example, is stunning, and several of the stories are on a par with those published elsewhere.
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John Fante had family that lived in Roseville Calif. wanted the book for our collection on local authors. Seems he wrote several books with Roseville as a back drop, even if he didn't mention the town by name
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Fante was (and is) probably my favorite American fiction writer. His voice is excellent and unique. His insight had depth and subtlety. He wrote with passion and a very real, very gritty force (an ummph). The eponymous story of this collection is one of my Fante favorites. Glad these got collected, and I'm glad there was such a man as John Fante.
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