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The Road to Los Ángeles

John Fante Þ 9 Summary

The war against the crab section was unbelievable the est was mainly Annoying John Fante S The Road To John Fante s The Road to Angeles was written some fifty year before it ever was published in 1985 The novel set around Long Beach San Pedro and Wilmington near the Los Angeles Harbor is an autobiographical story about the author s alter ego Arturo Gabriel Bandini Unfortunately the young Bandini is plain and simple a twit He uses big words he doesn t understand efers to authors like Nietzsche and Schopenhauer whom he likewise does not understand and acts in a condescending and supercilious way toward everyone from shopkeepers and employers to his mother and sister He pretends to be a writer but the sample that appears in this book is laughably bad It beginsArthur Banning kind of sounds like Arturo Bandini doesn t it the multi millionaire oil dealer tour de force prima facie petit maitre table d hote and great lover of avishing beautiful exotic saccharine and constellation like women in all parts of the world in every corner of the globe women in Bombay India land of the Taj Mahal of Gandhi and Buddha women in Naples land of Italian art and Italian fantasy women in the Riviera women at Lake Banff women at Lake Louise in the Swiss Alps at the Ambassador Coconut Grove in Los Angeles California women at the famed Pons Asinorum Huh in Europe this same Arthur Banning etc etc etcThere I couldn t even bear to type in the whole first sentence Although I like some of Fante s later work I think Road to Los Angeles should probably have stayed unpublished uite frankly the only eason I ead the book through to the end was 1 it was short and 2 I was expecting the main character to have the sht kicked out him by someone who tired of his jejune antics It s a significant feat to get into the head and body of a teenage boy with the wildness pressing urges and misappropriated hunger for knowledge and love I eached for this slim book because it was second in a series Bandini that I had started a year or so ago full disclosure I also needed a uick ead to get to my next one which my wife was eading The ambling stream of consciousness of an 18 year old with an overly active imagination was at first unsettling I ealized why Bukowski liked it with the unabashed utterance it gives to thoughts teetering on madness It is astonishing that this was published in the 1930 s surely far ahead of its time for American authors The leaflet says this was not published in eal time but cobbled together into book form posthumously after the other two in the series were Published Nonetheless It Is Nonetheless it is wild omp through the mind of an 18 year old father less boy in Los Angeles who s wild fantasies bring him much anguish in eal life but who stubbornly feeds them and unabashedly follows where they lead At times they were Walter Mitty like where he is the exalted lover savior etc What is truly hilarious about this book is the author s assumption of the character of an over ead uneducated boy who uses long From the Editorial NoteThis novel introduces Fante's alter ego Arturo Bandini who eappears in Wait Until Spring Bandini 1938 Ords poorly understood from his eadings of Schopenhauer Nietzsche etc and what young man doesn t find fascination here This aspect is a clever device by Fante showing us the conflict of ego in a boy who is blissfully out of context and absolutely intolerable to be around Mental illness and obsession are clearly issues hereBut this is a fun book and the characters as viewed through the lens of this l enfante terrible as he takes in his cannery boss p 55 This man was Shorty Naylor He was much smaller than I was He was very thin His collarbones stuck out He had not teeth worth mentioning in his mouth only one or two which were worse than nothing His eyes were like aged oysers on a sheet of newspaper Tobacco juice caked the corners of his mouth like dry chocolate His was the look of a at in waiting It seemed he had never been out in the sun his face was so grey Hedidn t look At My Face But At My Belly I Wondered What my face but at my belly I wondered what saw there And moments of blissful freedom finally from our warped protagonist p 120 I Felt Deliriously And Happy deliriously and impossibly was the smell of the sea the clean salted sweetness of the air the cold cynical indifference of the starts the sudden laughing intimacy of the streets the brazen opulence of light in darkness the glowing languor of slitted crescent moon I loved it all I felt like suealing making ueer noises new noises in my throat It was like walking naked through a valley of beautiful girls on all sides Well deserved 5 stars This was Fante s first Bandini book which got to be published first in the 80s after Fante s death due to Charles Bukowski In the 30s when written it was Arturo Bandini was not laughing He was puking his guts out on the floor I hated every one of them and I vowed evenge staggering away wanting to be out of sight somewhere I leaned against the wall and got my breath But the stench charged again The walls spun the women laughed and Shorty laughed and Arturo Bandini the great writer was heaving again How he heaved The women would go home tonight and talk about it at their houses That new fellow You should have seen him And I hated them and even stopped heaving for a moment to pause and delight over the fact that this was the greatest hatred of all my life Just like the first book in the saga and saga is the perfect word to describe John Fante s uartet of books about Bandini sustained anger excessive pride and obsession with women are the ongoing themes of this series I love that he had to pause and delight over the fact that this was the greatest hatred of all my life He evels in the depths of his emotions The only way that Bandini eacts to anything is with white hot anger He is too short and man does that piss him off His sister is taller than him which irritates him but her insistence on becoming a nun infuriates him She also has this sexy taut ass that taunts him like an undulating mirage in his sexual desert She knows he is a blowhard and can cut through his spun web of lies like a wise everend mot. Sk the Dust 1939 and Dreams from Bunker Hill 1982 The manuscript was discovered among John Fante's papers after his death in Ma. Her Women don t pay attention to him except when he is heaving his guts up at the fish factory or doing something strange and unsettling To say he is sexually frustrated is like saying the pope is CatholicThere is this humbling moment as he works the line at the fish factory that is like an arrow finding the chink in his armour of age She came with a man who had an elegant mustache and wore spats Later I found out his name was Hugo He owned the cannery as well as one on Terminal Island and another in Monterey Nobody knew who the girl was She clung to his arm sickened by the odor I knew she didn t like the place She was a girl of not than twenty She wore a green coat Her back was perfectly arched like a barrel stave and she wore high white shoes Together she and Hugo walked away At the door the girl turned to look at us I put my head down not wanting to be seen by one so lovely among those Mexicans and Filipinos Working at the fish factory he always smells of mackerel He one so lovely among those Mexicans and Filipinos Working at the fish factory he always smells of mackerel He and scrubs himself until he glows pink but the smell lingers on his skin like a permanent stain It further isolates him from those around him People move away from him in movie theaters He s a social pariah which only isolates him and feeds his anger He has no gear shift for his age It s high octane fourth gear the whole way I hated him so much I could have bitten off his finger and spat in his face He evels in his anger His anger feeds him like a feast He is a pompous ass As his mother says You e nothing but a boy who s ead too many books I ve been accused of that many times and was freuently told that I only used unfamiliar words to make people feel stupid but what it eally was was me trying to apply what I ead to my eal life I wanted to try out words so that they became part of my permanent lexicon Bandini is doing the same though he uses words like bludgeons He s hard to like I ve felt brief flashes of the anger he feels all the time I understand his frustrations but as he swings wildly at the world he is childishly prejudicial against the people around him the world he is childishly prejudicial against the people around him is as judgemental as the people he accuses of judging him This book in many ways is unhinged It drives the eader on elentlessly Charles Bukowski considered John Fante to be one of his literary gods and I can see some of Fante s influence on his writing The next book in this sage is Ask the Dust considered to be Fante s masterpiece I ead it decades ago and still emember the gist of the story but after eading the two books that precede it I m looking forward to ereading it with the context of Bandini s earlier life For most eaders they should ead Ask the Dust and not worry about the other three books in the uartet but the unflinching honesty with which Fante presents his alter ego Arturo Bandini in the earlier books is inspiring As he gives us Bandini he is berating himself as well If you wish to see of my most ecent book and movie eviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at and an Instagram account. Y 1983 by his widow Joyce and now may be included in that short distinguished list of important first novels by American author. ,