No two lives could have been more different, yet similar in a few essential ways than John and Dan Fante′s. As father and son, John and Dan Fante were prone to fights, resentment and extended periods of silence. As men, they were damaged by alcoholism. As writers, they were compelled by anger, rage and unstoppable passion.
In FANTE, Dan Fante traces his family′s history from the hillsides of Italy to the immigrant neighborhoods of Colorado to Los Angeles. There, John Fante struggles to gain the literary recognition he so badly craves, and despite the publication of his best known work, ASK THE DUST, he turns to the steady paycheck of Hollywood, working as a screenwriter to support his family. We follow Dan through a troubled childhood to his discovery of life′s vices through work as a carnival barker and later as he hitchhikes to New York City, where he drives a taxi for twelve years. While John Fante′s rage over his perceived failures as a writer and his struggle with debilitating diabetes make him more and more miserable, Dan struggles with alcoholic blackouts, suicidal thoughts and what he deems a broken mind.
John was a writer whose literary contributions were not recognised until the end of his life. Dan was an alcoholic saved by writing, who at the age of 45 picked up his father′s old typewriter in order to ease the madness in his mind. Fante is the story of the evolution of a relationship between father and son who eventually found their way back to loving each other.
My mother -in-law the well read Queen Bee had this to say about Fante....
I have often heard the term "raw" being used in describing movies, books and talent but I am not sure I have ever come across a book that I could only use that word to describe it. Dan Fante has written a book that he says is a look into his family's legacy of writing, drinking and surviving but it is really more a look into his own life of the same. It is very honest, sometimes graphic, sad, and yes, raw. But, I could not put it down. Was it like watching a train wreck? Maybe.
Dan Fante is the son of writer John Fante, who wrote a few novels back in the 1930's & 40's and screenplays in the 60's & 70's. He was a heavy drinker, a mean & mostly absent dad & a bad husband. Dan Fante writes that he had his first beer at age four, when alcohol became his drug of choice. Although, let me say that liquor wasn't his only vice !
Dan Fante's life is like the wildest roller coaster you have ever been on. An alcoholic drug user that blacked out most days of his young adulthood right into his forties, got tangled up with the Black Panthers, the mafia, hookers & pimps...you name it. AND he actually lives to tell about it.
He writes about his parents& siblings, his father's writing acheivements and some of John Fante's most famous /infamous brawls but the saddest part of the book is that it is a true story of a life wasted. If you ever had any doubts about the dangers of alcohol, you won't after reading this book. Well written and worth the read.
Pick up this great read today on Amazon, you will be so glad you did...