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The Bandini Quartet: Wait Until Spring, Bandini: The Road to Los Angeles: Ask the Dust: Dreams from Bunker Hill

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Possessing a style of deceptive simplicity, emotional immediacy and tremendous psychological point, among the novels, short stories and screenplays that complete his career, Fante's crowning accomplishment is the Arturo Bandini tetralogy. This quartet of novels tell of Fante's fictional alter-ego Bandini, an impoverished young Italian-American escaping his suffocating home Possessing a style of deceptive simplicity, emotional immediacy and tremendous psychological point, among the novels, short stories and screenplays that complete his career, Fante's crowning accomplishment is the Arturo Bandini tetralogy. This quartet of novels tell of Fante's fictional alter-ego Bandini, an impoverished young Italian-American escaping his suffocating home in Colorado for Depression-era Los Angeles. In the beginning, it is the triple weights of poverty, father and Church that Bandini struggles under but though the physical escape is complete, the psychological imprint continues as he comes to terms with love, desire and the knowledge his talent may not be recognised.


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Possessing a style of deceptive simplicity, emotional immediacy and tremendous psychological point, among the novels, short stories and screenplays that complete his career, Fante's crowning accomplishment is the Arturo Bandini tetralogy. This quartet of novels tell of Fante's fictional alter-ego Bandini, an impoverished young Italian-American escaping his suffocating home Possessing a style of deceptive simplicity, emotional immediacy and tremendous psychological point, among the novels, short stories and screenplays that complete his career, Fante's crowning accomplishment is the Arturo Bandini tetralogy. This quartet of novels tell of Fante's fictional alter-ego Bandini, an impoverished young Italian-American escaping his suffocating home in Colorado for Depression-era Los Angeles. In the beginning, it is the triple weights of poverty, father and Church that Bandini struggles under but though the physical escape is complete, the psychological imprint continues as he comes to terms with love, desire and the knowledge his talent may not be recognised.

30 review for The Bandini Quartet: Wait Until Spring, Bandini: The Road to Los Angeles: Ask the Dust: Dreams from Bunker Hill

  1. 4 out of 5

    Craig Wallwork

    John Fante came to me by accident. It was 2002 and I was on holiday in Greece. I’d taken a few books to read and ingested them in the first week. I don’t remember the titles, which his to say, they weren’t very memorable. There was another week to go, and I had resorted to raiding the local café for any paperbacks left by previous guests. Unbeknownst to me my wife had reach the same point four days previous and had taken the only novel left. The book was Ask The Dust (Rebel Inc paperback version John Fante came to me by accident. It was 2002 and I was on holiday in Greece. I’d taken a few books to read and ingested them in the first week. I don’t remember the titles, which his to say, they weren’t very memorable. There was another week to go, and I had resorted to raiding the local café for any paperbacks left by previous guests. Unbeknownst to me my wife had reach the same point four days previous and had taken the only novel left. The book was Ask The Dust (Rebel Inc paperback version). Now resorted to reading the contents of the sun tan lotion bottle, I asked her what she was reading and she replied, "You’d like it. It’s about a writer who has shitty luck." She also said it reminded her a little of Catcher In The Rye. Two months previous to that holiday I had read Salinger’s pièce de résistance over a cold weekend in a Manchester council flat. Upon finishing it I resigned from a long-standing job as an editor within a small television company, blaming inactivity and job instability for wanting to move on, but the truth was I had identified with Holden’s simple view of life, especially the need to escape society’s flakiness and live in a log cabin with a mute wife. I didn’t want to conform anymore, or be "fake". I wanted to do what I wanted to do, and it felt like Catcher was the permission slip I had been waiting for. That night, upon returning home, fate intervened and my wife and I were offered a house to buy at a very reasonable price. I had no job. No wage. And now, no way of acquiring a mortgage. The house was a one-time deal, a way of getting out of the slums and making a fresh start – the responsible thing to do, some might say. The next day I returned to work with spoon in hand ready to tuck into some humble pie and was reinstated later that afternoon. To add to my discomfiture, the house deal fell through. No book had affected me like Catcher, so when my wife mentioned Ask The Dust was "similar", my appetite was whetted, and I spent the next few hours pestering her until she handed it over. Fante was Salinger, but with balls. Ask The Dust tells the story of Arturo Bandini, a young Italian-American from Boulder, Colorado (Fante’s hometown) who moves to LA to try and make it as a writer. He is poor, and in need of a muse, which he finds in both the City of Angels, and the self destructive Camilla Lopez, a young Mexican waitress. It deals with prejudices, and madness, but above all, it deals with love. Hopefully some of you will already know of the book, and not because it was a movie staring that swaggering Irish dullard, Colin Farrell, a poor adaptation that was akin to dressing a pit-bull terrier in a tutu. But instead, you may have found the book by accident, like I, or may have heard about Fante through Bukowski, who, without his intervention, and the sadly missed, Black Sparrow Press (John Martin’s publishing label), Fante may have dipped off the radar forevermore. Yes, there is a great sadness behind Fante’s life story, which only adds to my respect for him. Though now widely regarded as an American Classic, at the time of its release Ask The Dust received mixed reviews and sold poorly. Added to this, Stackpoles and Son (the publisher) were caught in a legal battle with Adolph Hitler for publishing Mien Kampf without his permission. They lost the case, and a hefty chunk of change put aside to help promote Fante and his novel. Embittered that he was not recognised as one of the most important writers to emerge from America, Fante turned to Hollywood, writing scripts for the Silver Screen. There he stayed until diabetes cost him both legs and eyesight. He died in 1983. His funeral was attended by Bukowski and Martin Sheen. Regardless of whatever flaws he had, whatever aspirations were dashed, Fante carried on writing novels, completing the Bandini Quartet with Wait For Spring Bandini, Road To Los Angeles (published posthumously), and Dreams From Bunker Hill. He also wrote the novella, West of Rome, and 1933 Was a Bad Year. I implore you all to seek out Road To Los Angeles. Very few novels have me laugh out loud, but that is without question, as funny as it is ballsy. I had the pleasure of speaking with John’s son, Dan Fante, a few times before his death, who was an established poet and novelist himself. Dan spoke reverently of his father, and his work. In truth, a lot of what Dan wrote about, and his style, is very reminiscent of John’s work. Both John and Dan were huge influences on my early work, especially The Sound of Loneliness, but for now, if you’re struggling to think of a book to take away on holiday this year then try one written by a Fante. And if I can ask one more thing of you, once you’re done with it, leave it in a café. You never know who’ll it inspire next.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Biatriz Baldo

    Ho amato profondamente “Chiedi alla polvere” e poi, per una particolare congiuntura astrale, non ho potuto leggere più altro di Fante. Quando tra le mani mi sono capitate “Le storie di Arturo Bandini” non mi sono potuta esimere e mi sono buttata si nuovo in questo strano mondo. Un mondo in cui più leggi di Arturo, sempre più attaccabrighe, ribelle, megalomane e più te ne innamori. Più speri si allontani dall’immagine del padre Svevo e più sei consapevole che la mela nn potrà cadere così lontana Ho amato profondamente “Chiedi alla polvere” e poi, per una particolare congiuntura astrale, non ho potuto leggere più altro di Fante. Quando tra le mani mi sono capitate “Le storie di Arturo Bandini” non mi sono potuta esimere e mi sono buttata si nuovo in questo strano mondo. Un mondo in cui più leggi di Arturo, sempre più attaccabrighe, ribelle, megalomane e più te ne innamori. Più speri si allontani dall’immagine del padre Svevo e più sei consapevole che la mela nn potrà cadere così lontana dall’albero. La casualità mi ha spinto a leggere questo libro che è il terzo in cui si parla di migrazione, di migranti, di immigrati di prima e seconda generazione. E il mondo che descrive Fante è un mondo in cui ci sei dentro, in cui senti gli odori, avverti i rumori. Insomma, sei lì, a Rockling e guardi dal buco della serratura la famiglia Bandini, e soprattutto Arturo, affrontare la loro vita nell’America post depressione.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joe Loftus

    On April 2nd I boarded a plane for Ireland West. In my suitcase were a handful of shirts and two pairs of jeans, the Bandini Quartet, Trout Fishing in America, and The Pour Mouth. I was going on holiday alone. I was going home to Ireland. In the pockets of my jeans were my passport and my debit card. I had just been paid £1,000 but didn't intend on spending a penny of that on a taxi. At Ireland West airport there wasn't a taxi in sight and the buses were on strike. Fifteen hour walk it is I told On April 2nd I boarded a plane for Ireland West. In my suitcase were a handful of shirts and two pairs of jeans, the Bandini Quartet, Trout Fishing in America, and The Pour Mouth. I was going on holiday alone. I was going home to Ireland. In the pockets of my jeans were my passport and my debit card. I had just been paid £1,000 but didn't intend on spending a penny of that on a taxi. At Ireland West airport there wasn't a taxi in sight and the buses were on strike. Fifteen hour walk it is I told myself triumphantly. What followed was the wheeling of my suitcase across a muddy terrain and sticking my thumb out as cars sped by wondering what the fuck this guy was doing walking beside a main road with a suitcase. Eventually I was picked up. A small and strange guy who was overly friendly. He took me to Castlebar and promised if I had a few pints with him he'd take me further to destination. As pints are up there with literature, masturbating, and mediocre sex among my favourite activities in life I quite happily obliged. Six Smithwicks and a cheap cheeseburger later and I was on my way. Newport. One more town to go. By now rain was falling and night had already fell. I stormed like the hero of a great novel into the nearest bar like a man who'd had to hitchhike for most of the day. Too much to drink was something I had gotten used to dealing with a few years ago when I was about 15. Too much to drink was something I dealt with on April 2. Smithwicks and Paddy's and 'you know Tony McNeely, well he's my uncle and Anthony Mayock is too, sure you know my family' then I was on my way. Into the darkness of the night with my destination in site. No cars about. I gave up hitchhiking and a taxi past by. Twenty euros to my cottage. There I passed out and left the door open. Woke up in a cold cottage with no food and no milk. Black coffee and Bandini for lunch. And so I read and finished The Bandini Quartet. A great feat. Fante sure was an unfortunate fucker. One of the most tragic stories in literature. Give it a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzo Lazzereschi

    John Fante, forse senza volerlo, scrive di Arturo Bandini per raccontare di sé e della propria infanzia difficile trascorsa tra gli inverni gelidi del Colorado e un padre rude e alcolizzato, ma anche per rivivere la sua genesi come scrittore. Il volume infatti raccoglie tutti e quattro i romanzi che hanno come protagonista Arturo, scritti e pubblicati da Fante in momenti diversi nella sua vita: per questo non vi è una vera e propria corrispondenza temporale tra un manoscritto e l'altro, così com John Fante, forse senza volerlo, scrive di Arturo Bandini per raccontare di sé e della propria infanzia difficile trascorsa tra gli inverni gelidi del Colorado e un padre rude e alcolizzato, ma anche per rivivere la sua genesi come scrittore. Il volume infatti raccoglie tutti e quattro i romanzi che hanno come protagonista Arturo, scritti e pubblicati da Fante in momenti diversi nella sua vita: per questo non vi è una vera e propria corrispondenza temporale tra un manoscritto e l'altro, così come è sempre da ricercare qui il motivo per cui vi sono alcune piccole differenze tra l'Arturo-bambino protagonista di "Chiedi alla polvere" e l'Arturo-uomo di "Sogni di Bunker Hill". Nonostante questo, l'opera di Fante è preziosa e fondamentale per la letteratura americana.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Bouklas

    When I found out about John Fante, it was like finding a diamond ring with my foot in the ocean. I read it up greedily and lingered on the last page, sad to be at the end of something great. You should certainly read John Fante.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gonzalo Oyanedel

    Cuatro novelas que enseñan el camino literario de John Fante, héroe maldito de la literatura estadounidense que -sin buscarlo-trazó un modelo en la ficción contemporánea. "Camino de los Ángeles", "Espera a la Primavera, Bandini", Sueños de Bunker Hill" y sobre todo "Pregúntale al Polvo" (trabajos póstumos, rechazados y casi condenados al olvido, aquí reunidos), muestran la evolución narrativa y estilística de una carrera que tiene como figura central a Arturo Bandini, un alter ego cuya miserable Cuatro novelas que enseñan el camino literario de John Fante, héroe maldito de la literatura estadounidense que -sin buscarlo-trazó un modelo en la ficción contemporánea. "Camino de los Ángeles", "Espera a la Primavera, Bandini", Sueños de Bunker Hill" y sobre todo "Pregúntale al Polvo" (trabajos póstumos, rechazados y casi condenados al olvido, aquí reunidos), muestran la evolución narrativa y estilística de una carrera que tiene como figura central a Arturo Bandini, un alter ego cuya miserable infancia en Colorado apunta sin cesar hacia un Sueño Americano que solo alcanza a rozar y existe en sus ilusiones.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leka

    29 settembre - 1 ottobre Aspetta primavera, Bandini **** 2 - 4 ottobre La strada per Los Angeles *** 5- 9 ottobre Chiedi alla polvere Non do mai stelle alle storie autobiografiche (e questa lo è in modo strettissimo visto che Fante si è sentito in dovere di aggiungere un prologo in cui racconta la verità che sta alla base del romanzo e da cui nasce anche il titolo). Ma è molto bello, a tratti anche molo, molto, molto bello. Straziante, anche. Come lo può essere la vita. 10 - 12 ottobre Sogni di Bunker 29 settembre - 1 ottobre Aspetta primavera, Bandini **** 2 - 4 ottobre La strada per Los Angeles *** 5- 9 ottobre Chiedi alla polvere Non do mai stelle alle storie autobiografiche (e questa lo è in modo strettissimo visto che Fante si è sentito in dovere di aggiungere un prologo in cui racconta la verità che sta alla base del romanzo e da cui nasce anche il titolo). Ma è molto bello, a tratti anche molo, molto, molto bello. Straziante, anche. Come lo può essere la vita. 10 - 12 ottobre Sogni di Bunker Hill ****

  8. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This would be without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. There are about 4 sentences (sentences not paragraphs) scattered throughout these four works that have any lierary merit. The main character is one of the most crudely drawn and despicable characters imaginable and I kept hoping against hope that the author would have the sense to kill him off. I finished the whole set on the basis that it could not possibly have garnered any of the good reviews I read without havi This would be without a doubt one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. There are about 4 sentences (sentences not paragraphs) scattered throughout these four works that have any lierary merit. The main character is one of the most crudely drawn and despicable characters imaginable and I kept hoping against hope that the author would have the sense to kill him off. I finished the whole set on the basis that it could not possibly have garnered any of the good reviews I read without havingsome merit. Alas, I was disappointed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    La pointe de la sauce

    Wow! An utterly pointless book written by Fante on his death bed. Absolutely bland and lacking in vigor despite the random spurts of manic rage against women, crabs etc. and promptly followed by a demand for forgiveness. Fante is a very confused catholic. Despite all of this it is an easy read but would not recommend this book to anyone.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Rhodes

    John Fonte was one of the writers of the 30's who got lost in the later years, but he is up to par with John Cheever, and, especially if you're feeling like a fuckup, there is something wonderfully comforting about reading his stories of the permanent adolescent artist.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Brilliant.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Conor Day

    loved it, all of them

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Clement

    Loved it, couldn't put it down:-)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna Nicolaou

    I love John Fante's books ... I say no more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    yórgos

    να διαβάσετε το 'ask the dust'. δύο φορές.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matteo

    My powerful review. is......just 1 word:ARTURO BANDINI!

  17. 5 out of 5

    josé almeida

    li o "ask the dust" há muitos muitos anos e, mais recentemente, "wait until spring, bandini", dois grandes momentos da literatura norte-americana. e agora, para terminar a leitura da saga de arturo bandini, essa "maravilhosa criação de um personagem", fui ler este volume editado pela canongate, que reune os outros dois "episódios", num imprescindível quarteto de novelas, com esclarecedoras introduções assinadas por charles bukowski e pelo seu filho, dan fante. e as até agora desconhecidas "the r li o "ask the dust" há muitos muitos anos e, mais recentemente, "wait until spring, bandini", dois grandes momentos da literatura norte-americana. e agora, para terminar a leitura da saga de arturo bandini, essa "maravilhosa criação de um personagem", fui ler este volume editado pela canongate, que reune os outros dois "episódios", num imprescindível quarteto de novelas, com esclarecedoras introduções assinadas por charles bukowski e pelo seu filho, dan fante. e as até agora desconhecidas "the road to los angeles" e "dreams from bunker hill", talvez as suas novelas mais autobiográficas, nunca desiludem (fante é sempre ele mesmo) e ajudam a completar esse estranho retrato, em que personagem e autor se confundem.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Talpa Betta

    Altezzoso, masochista, brillante e autodistruttivo, Arturo Bandini è diventato presto il più grande alter ego letterario insieme a Chinaski e a Zimmerman. Con i suoi sogni, i suoi successi e i suoi fallimenti, racconta una generazione di migranti, emarginati e artisti nel paese delle grandi occasioni.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stuart David

    Ask The Dust is something special. Dreams from Bunker Hill is nearly as good. The Road to Los Angeles is bananas, but has a lot of dazzling chapters, and a lot of quite bad chapters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gager

    Actually, I haven't read #4 yet, but will soon in a separate paperback edition. Fante' is a great American writer and not well-enough known. IMHO ...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Priyadarshini

    Heartbreaking and honest I loved Arturo's glorious acceptance of life as it was and his silly weaknesses which all of us are vary of but are ashamed to admit.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Miguell GC

    Llegue a Fante a traves de Bukowski, creo que hizo un gran bien a los lectores al rescatar del olvido a este buen autor.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Martinxo

    I first read John Fante in my late teens and loved his writing then. A quarter of a century later I find the Bandini Quartet in a charity shop for £1. Of course, I buy it immediately. Fante is a superb writer, no fluff, no cliches, just great writing. Sometimes it's a bad idea going back to novels read in one's youth but this did not disappoint in the slights. Still great after all these years. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Antoine Salem

    Fante is one of my true heroes... nobody writes with such a captivating intensity about life and its paradoxes. Despair and joy cohabitate on every page in the most natural fashion and Bandini's world and personality are addictive. Dont pick it up if you are busy for I warn you; it will be impossible to put the book down once you get started.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Tole

    I managed halfway through the second episode then ran out of steam. Possibly the most obnoxious character I have read in a book. I tried to restart this, got to the same point and gave up. Its gone back out on the market. I can't see what all the fuss is about and life's too short to bother trying to get to the bottom of this one.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Dalgety

    Great great book all the beat writers loved him and you can see why as Bukowski said "Fante is my God"

  27. 4 out of 5

    Howard

    i know this inspired Buk's novels but his poetry was way better anyway. Sure when published i'd have given it a 5 but right now it's raw and cool but nothing orgasmic

  28. 4 out of 5

    Asko

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Fetzer

  30. 4 out of 5

    c

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