It's not every day that a writer, almost unheard of in his lifetime, reemerges twenty years after his death as a voice of his generation. But then again, there aren't many writers with such irrepressible genius as John Fante.
Born in Denver in 1909, Fante grew up in an Italian American family that was plagued by the prejudice and poverty so common among working-class immigrants of the time. But Fante's unflinching eye was meant for the City of Angels, and at age twenty-one he moved west to the town that would become his lifelong home. In semiautobiographical novels like The Road to Los Angeles, Dreams from Bunker Hill, and Ask the Dust -- his most acclaimed work -- Fante captured the rhythms of Los Angeles life in prose that spans the gap between the spare style of Hemingway and the gritty urban dialect of the Beats.
The John Fante Reader is the important next step in the reintroduction of this influential literary writer to modern audiences. Combining excerpts from his novels and stories, as well as his never-before-published letters, this collection is the perfect primer on the work of a writer, underappreciated in his time, who is finalty taking his place in the pantheon of twentieth-century American writers.
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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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