Last week I have finished reading the novel Ask the Dust by John Fante. It is part of the Arturo Bandini series and comes after “Wait Until Spring, Bandini” and “The Road to Los Angeles” yet before “Dreams from Bunker Hill”. It seems a random book to pick from the series, but it is actually not necessary to read all four books to know what’s going on in the story.
Fante‘s style of writing is very raw and straight-forward. While he does use descriptive language, it barely ever seems unnecessary instead of it adding to the scenery. The Arturo Bandini-series revolves around Arturo, a young writer, who has yet to be discovered in the America of the 1930s. He struggels with getting published and also with his private life. Ask the Dust in particular deals with his destructive and all-consuming love to the Mexican waitress Camilla Lopez. The fierce and self-confident woman turns out to be more fragile and unstable than Arturo first thought and things don’t end well.
If you are not sure you like John Fante and his writing, I can definitely recommand his works to every Charles Bukowski fan out there. Bukowski himself saw Fante as a great inspiration and they even became friends later on in their lifes. Fante writes very honest stories and I think this especially appealed to Bukowski and all the other readers of his stories.
Do you know Ask the Dust? What do you think about it? Do you have a different favorite book of John Fante?