Re: RARA-AVIS: John Fante

From: David Wright (
Date: 06 Dec 2005

Here's my take:
    Fante is one of those writers I enjoy for the energy in the prose more than anything else. I might say the same of Kerouac - there's not all that much there, but there's just a kind of wild kintetic spirit that lures a reader in. (Same is true of Jerome Charyn's Isaac Sidel books - hardboiled fiction as though written by a 7 year old.) In Fante's case it is a wild, grandiloquent, absurd, juiciness - a wonderfully stupid defiance and drive. Compared to Bukowski, he doesn't have quite the same astonishing capacity for truth-telling - there's a lot of malarkey in Fante, but it is great malarkey. Nothing that you could call Hardboiled or Noir - Fante is rather Scrambled and Red. "On Nietzsche's anniversary, which is my Christmas, I always get stewed," Fante wrote to H. L. Mencken in 1932. Bukowski called him a 'Wild and Enormous Miracle.' I think 'Magnificent Bastard' fits the bill, but that gives you some idea of the appeal, and the affection some of us have for him as a sort of holy fool who - if he is not as crafted as Bukowski of Hunter S Thompson, is also less calculating. In other words, Fante asks you the reader to get silly, to get a bit drunk on his words. A nearbye bottle of Vino Collapso or pitcher of Sangria wouldn't hurt either. "Am I alone now? Poof! My loneliness bears fruit, and there shall be a Los Angeles of tomorrow to remember that a Voice trod these stairs, and Benny the Gouge down on the corner of Third and Hill will weep for joy as he telleth his grandchild that he once spoke with a man of the ages." Definitely an American original, a writer with great energy and humor, and one well worth trying out.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Dec 2005 EST