Friday, May 8, 2009

Remembering author JOHN FANTE (April 8, 1909-May 8, 1983)

ASK THE DUST (1939) is one of my top three all-time favorite novels, if not my absolute favorite. It's masterfully written and very, very funny and touching all at once. Beautifully bittersweet.

So I was delighted to have had the opportunity to interview JOHN FANTE's daughter and youngest son, and do this lead feature for the PALISADIAN-POST, the 81 year-old community newspaper of Pacific Palisades, California.

The print version, which has all kinds of never-before-seen images from the Fante family photo album, came out yesterday, and on this date in 1983, Mr. Fante passed away after a long struggle with diabetes.

There are several other John Fante books to savor: WAIT UNTIL SPRING, BANDINI, THE ROAD TO LOS ANGLES, DREAMS OF BUNKER HILL. I just finished reading 1977's BROTHERHOOD OF THE GRAPE, with writing so colorful and tasty, it goes down like ice cream. But ASK THE DUST, his second novel, holds special meaning for me.

One day soon, Mr. Fante will take his place up there with only the very greatest of writers. In fame only, for anyone who has read his books already knows that John Fante wrote poetry disguised as prose.

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