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Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante – adultery and adolescence in Colorado in the 1920s

September 20, 2020 18 comments

Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante (1938) French title: Bandini. Translated by Brice Matthieussent. (He’s Fante’s main French translator)

Then she left. The poor thing. His mother –the poor thing. It worked a despair in him that made his eyes fill up. Everywhere it was the same, always his mother –the poor thing, always poor and poor, always that, that word, always in him and around him, and suddenly he let go in that half darkened room and wept, sobbing the poor out of him, crying and chocking, not for that, not for her, for his mother but for Svevo Bandini, for his father, that look of his father’s, those gnarled hands of his father’s, for his father’s mason tools, for the walls his father has built, the steps, the cornices, the ashpits, the cathedrals, and they were all so very beautiful, for that feeling in him when his father sang of Italy, of an Italian sky, of a Neapolitan bay.

John Fante (1909-1983) was born in Boulder, Colorado. His parents were Italian immigrants. He’s well-known for his Saga of Arturo Bandini, Fante’s alter ego. Including Wait Until Spring, Bandini, I’ve now read three out of the four books of the saga. I loved it as much as The Road to Los Angeles and Ask the Dust.

In Wait Until Spring, Bandini, Arturo is 14. His life revolves around his parents, his siblings and school. It’s winter in Colorado in the 1920s. We see how this winter is a turning point in Arturo’s life. He’s growing up, he’s losing his illusions about marriage and sees his parents in a different light.

Arturo’s father, Svevo, is a mason and bricklayer. There aren’t a lot of construction works at this time of year and he’s currently out of work. The family barely survives. Meat is rare, the children clothes are always too small and the Bandinis have debts at the local shops.

Arturo is fourteen, still a child in some aspects but getting the vision of an adult on others. He loves his parents and sees what a strange couple they make. His mother Maria is blindly in love with her charming womanizing husband. She’s also a Catholic devout, living rosary in hand, going to church every Sunday and feeling so proud that her sons are altar boys. His father Svevo doesn’t care about religion, likes to drink and gamble with his childhood friend from Italy. It’s a bone of contention between the two:

Svevo had said, if God is everywhere, why do I have to go to Church on Sunday? Why can’t I go to the Imperial Poolhall? Isn’t God down there too? His mother always shuddered in horror at this piece of theology, but he remembered how feeble her reply to it, the same reply he had learned in his catechism, and one his mother had learned out of the same catechism years before.

This winter, Arturo will see his parents in a new light. When Maria’s mother announces one of her dreadful visits –she despises her son-in-law and never misses an opportunity to let it known –Svevo leaves the house and doesn’t come back. We see him stay with a rich mistress. Maria is so depressed that she neglects the children.

Arturo is torn between his two parents. He understands why his father would want to escape. Svevo is the sole breadwinner and bears the weight of providing for five. He doesn’t have a stable job. He never earns enough, he’s always in debt and never has a break. Seen from Svevo’s point of view, this affair sounds more like a holiday from the worries and the poverty than a true love story. He stays with her for a while, in a house where he doesn’t have to worry. As a young adolescent, Arturo is also secretly proud that his working-class father managed to seduce such a rich lady.

But Arturo also understands how heartbroken his mother is, how in love she is with Svevo and how betrayed she feels. He hates his father for it. Svevo may bear the burden of earning enough, she bears the brunt of raising the children, scraping by all the time. She’s the one who struggles to feed everyone with the little money that she has. There’s a heartbreaking scene at the butcher’s, we see how humiliating it is for her to go there without enough money and buy the cheapest meat possible.

Arturo becomes the underground middleman between the two. He threatens his brother with bodily harm if he tattles to his mother that they’ve seen their father with another woman. Arturo knows it’ll burn the bridges between his parents, and that their mother would not recover or take her husband back. And they need their breadwinner.

Arturo knows that the family needs that their parents patch things up.

Wait Until Spring, Bandini means that things will get better in the spring, when the construction works resume, when Svevo finds a job and brings money home again. They have to live through the hard Colorado winter.

Besides the drama between Maria and Svevo, we also see Arturo’s school life and his relationship with his siblings. He can’t stand his righteous brother Federico. Arturo’s temper is more like his father’s but he’s still under his mother’s influence. Religion instills a deep fear of sins and makes him sweat. He doesn’t like going to church or being an altar boy but it makes his mamma happy. He’s also desperately in love with Rosa, who is in his class and looks down on him. Fante describes his life as a poor student in a Catholic school.

All this is packed in 266 pages, in a novel full of creativity. Fante writes about hardship and poverty but keeps his sense of humor. I suspect that he hates pitying looks and that irony is a weapon against unwanted pity.

Fante was 29 when he wrote this novel. In the foreword of Wait Until Spring, Bandini, he explains that he never reread it after it was published. Maybe it was too painful. Maybe he was afraid to find it lacking. I think it’s a very fine piece of literature.

I still have to read the fourth book of Saga of Arturo Bandini, Dreams from Bunker Hill. You’ll hear more about Fante on this blog soon since our Book Club’s choice for September is West of Rome, a bundle of two novellas, My Dog Stupid and The Orgy. Looking through my shelves, I realized I’ve already read the French translation of The Orgy. I’ve also read Full of Life. Fante was a fashionable writer in France in the late 1980s when they go published in the 10/18 collection.

Fante also wrote the script of Walk on the Wild Side, the film made out of Algren’s book. Published in 1956, I hope to read Algren’s novel for the 1956 Club, after reading Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin.

PS : This was Book #19 in my 20 Books of Summer challenge.

Saturday literary delights, squeals and other news

October 28, 2017 25 comments

For the last two months, I’ve been buried at work and busy with life. My literary life suffered from it, my TBW has five books, I have a stack of unread Télérama at home, my inbox overflows with unread blog entries from fellow book bloggers and I have just started to read books from Australia. Now that I have a blissful six-days break, I have a bit of time to share with you a few literary tidbits that made me squeal like a school girl, the few literary things I managed to salvage and how bookish things came to me as if the universe was offering some kind of compensation.

I had the pleasure to meet again with fellow book blogger Tom and  his wife. Tom writes at Wuthering Expectations, renamed Les Expectations de Hurlevent since he left the US to spend a whole year in Lyon, France. If you want to follow his adventures in Europe and in France in particular, check out his blog here. We had a lovely evening.

I also went to Paris on a business trip and by chance ended up in a hotel made for a literature/theatre lovers. See the lobby of the hotel…

My room was meant for me, theatre-themed bedroom and book-themed bathroom

*Squeal!* My colleagues couldn’t believe how giddy I was.

Literature also came to me unexpectedly thanks to the Swiss publisher LaBaconnière. A couple of weeks ago, I came home on a Friday night after a week at top speed at work. I was exhausted, eager to unwind and put my mind off work. LaBaconnière must have guessed it because I had the pleasure to find Lettres d’Anglererre by Karel Čapek in my mail box. What a good way to start my weekend. *Squeal!* It was sent to me in hope of a review but without openly requesting it. Polite and spot on since I was drawn to this book immediately. LaBaconnière promotes Central European literature through their Ibolya Virág Collection. Ibolya Virág is a translator from the Hungarian into French and LaBaconnière has also published the excellent Sindbad ou la nostalgie by Gyula Krúdy, a book I reviewed both in French and in English. Last week, I started to read Lettres d’Angleterre and browsed through the last pages of the book, where you always find the list of other titles belonging to the same collection. And what did I find under Sindbad ou la nostalgie? A quote from my billet! *Squeal!* Now I’ve never had any idea of becoming a writer of any kind but I have to confess that it did something to me to see my words printed on a book, be it two lines on the excerpt of a catalogue. Lettres d’Angleterre was a delight, billet to come.

Now that I’m off work, I started to read all the Téléramas I had left behind. The first one I picked included three articles about writers I love. *Squeal!* There was one about visiting Los Angeles and especially Bunker Hill, the neighborhood where John Fante stayed when he moved to Los Angeles. I love John Fante, his sense of humor, his description of Los Angeles and I’m glad Bukowski saved him from the well of oblivion. It made me want to hop on a plane for a literary escapade in LA. A few pages later, I stumbled upon an article about James Baldwin whose novels are republished in French. Giovanni’s Room comes out again with a foreword by Alain Mabanckou and there’s a new edition of Go Tell It on the Mountain. Two books I want to read. And last but not least, Philip Roth is now published in the prestigious La Pléiade  edition. This collection was initially meant for French writers but has been extended to translated books as well. I don’t know if Roth is aware of this edition but for France, this is an honor as big as winning the Nobel Prize for literature, which Roth totally deserves, in my opinion.

Romain Gary isn’t published in La Pléiade (yet) but he’s still a huge writer in France, something totally unknown to most foreign readers. See this display table in a bookstore in Lyon.

His novel La Promesse de l’aube has been made into a film that will be on screens on December 20th. It is directed by Eric Barbier and Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Nina, Gary’s mother and Pierre Niney is Romain Gary. I hope it’s a good adaptation of Gary’s biographical novel.

Romain Gary was a character that could have come out of a novelist’s mind. His way of reinventing himself and his past fascinates readers and writers. In 2017, at least two books are about Romain Gary’s childhood. In Romain Gary s’en va-t-en guerre, Laurent Seksik explores Gary’s propension to create a father that he never knew. I haven’t read it yet but it is high on my TBR.

The second book was brought in the flow of books arriving for the Rentrée Littéraire. I didn’t have time this year to pay attention to the books that were published for the Rentrée Littéraire. I just heard an interview of François-Henri Désérable who wrote Un certain M. Piekielny, a book shortlisted for the prestigious Prix Goncourt. And it’s an investigation linked to Gary’s childhood in Vilnius. *Squeal!* Stranded in Vilnius, Désérable walked around the city and went in the street where Gary used to live between 1917 and 1923. (He was born in 1914) In La promesse de l’aube, Gary wrote that his neighbor once told him:

Quand tu rencontreras de grands personnages, des hommes importants, promets-moi de leur dire: au n°16 de la rue Grande-Pohulanka, à Wilno, habitait M. Piekielny. When you meet with great people, with important people, promise me to tell them : at number 16 of Grande-Pohulanka street in Wilno used to live Mr Piekielny.

Gary wrote that he kept his promise. Désérable decided to research M. Piekielny, spent more time in Vilnius. His book relates his experience and his research, bringing back to life the Jewish neighborhood of the city. 60000 Jews used to live in Vilnius, a city that counted 106 synagogues. A century later, decimated by the Nazis, there are only 1200 Jews and one synagogue in Vilnius. Of course, despite the height of my TBR, I had to get that book. I plan on reading it soon, I’m very intrigued by it.

Despite all the work and stuff, I managed to read the books selected for our Book Club. The October one is Monsieur Proust by his housekeeper Céleste Albaret. (That’s on the TBW) She talks about Proust, his publishers and the publishing of his books. When Du côté de chez Swann was published in 1913, Proust had five luxury copies made for his friends. The copy dedicated to Alexandra de Rotschild was stolen during WWII and is either lost or well hidden. The fifth copy dedicated to Louis Brun will be auctioned on October 30th. When the first copy dedicated to Lucien Daudet was auctioned in 2013, it went for 600 000 euros. Who knows for how much this one will be sold? Not *Squeal!* but *Swoon*, because, well, it’s Proust and squeals don’t go well with Proust.

Although Gary’s books are mostly not available in English, I was very happy to discover that French is the second most translated language after English. Yay to the Francophonie! According to the article, French language books benefit from two cultural landmarks: the Centre National du Livre and the network of the Instituts français. Both institutions help financing translations and promoting books abroad. I have often seen the mention that the book I was reading had been translated with the help of the Centre National du Livre.

I mentioned earlier that the hotel I stayed in was made for me because of the literary and theatre setting. I still have my subscription at the Théâtre des Célestins in Lyon and I’ve seen two very good plays. I wanted to write a billet about them but lacked the time to do so.

Illustration by Thomas Ehretsmann

The first one is Rabbit Hole by Bostonian author David Lindsay-Abaire. The French version was directed by Claudia Stavisky. The main roles of Becky and Howard were played by Julie Gayet and Patrick Catalifo. It is a sad but beautiful play about grieving the death of a child. Danny died in a stupid car accident and his parents try to survive the loss. With a missing member, the family is thrown off balance and like an amputated body, it suffers from phantom pain. With delicate words and spot-on scenes, David Lindsay-Abaire shows us a family who tries to cope with a devastating loss that shattered their lived. If you have the chance to watch this play, go for it. *Delight* On the gossip column side of things, the rumor says that François Hollande was in the theatre when I went to see the play. (Julie Gayet was his girlfriend when he was in office)

Illustration by Thomas Ehretsmann

The second play is a lot lighter but equally good. It is Ça va? by Jean-Claude Grumberg. In French, Ça va? is the everyday greeting and unless you genuinely care about the person, it’s told off-handedly and the expected answer is Yes. Apparently, this expression comes from the Renaissance and started to be used with the generalization of medicine based upon the inspection of bowel movements. (See The Imaginary Invalid by Molière) So “Comment allez-vous à la selle” (“How have your bowel movements been?”) got shortened into Ça va? Very down-to-earth. But my dear English-speaking natives, don’t laugh out loud too quickly, I hear that How do you do might have the same origin…Back to the play.

In this play directed by Daniel Benoin, Grumberg imagines a succession of playlets that start with two people meeting up and striking a conversation with the usual Ça va? Of course, a lot of them end up with dialogues of the deaf, absurd scenes, fights and other hilarious moments. Sometimes it’s basic comedy, sometimes we laugh hollowly but in all cases, the style is a perfect play with the French language. A trio of fantastic actors, François Marthouret, Pierre Cassignard and Éric Prat interpreted this gallery of characters. *Delight* If this play comes around, rush for it.

To conclude this collage of my literary-theatre moments of the last two months, I’ll mention an interview of the historian Emmanuelle Loyer about a research project Europa, notre histoire directed by Etienne François and Thomas Serrier. They researched what Europe is made of. Apparently, cafés are a major component of European culture. Places to sit down and meet friends, cultural places where books were written and ideas exchanged. In a lot of European cities, there are indeed literary cafés where writers had settled and wrote articles and books. New York Café in Budapest. Café de Flore in Paris. Café Martinho da Arcada in Lisbon. Café Central in Vienna. Café Slavia in Prague. Café Giubbe Rosse in Florence. (My cheeky mind whispers to me that the pub culture is different and might have something to do with Brexit…) It’s a lovely thought that cafés are a European trademark, that we share a love for places that mean conviviality. That’s where I started to write this billet, which is much longer than planned. I’ll leave you with two pictures from chain cafés at the Lyon mall. One proposes to drop and/or take books and the other has a bookish décor.

Literature and cafés still go together and long life to the literary café culture!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend.

Los Angeles was doomed. It was a city with a curse upon it. (John Fante)

June 30, 2010 7 comments

Ask the Dust, by John Fante 

Ask the Dust is the third volume of the Bandini saga by John Fante. Arturo is now twenty and has left Colorado to live in Los Angeles as a writer after his first short story was published. The novel has no precise plot and I would split it in two different parts. The first one is centred on Arturo’s completing his metamorphosis from a Catholic Italian teenager to an atheist adult writer. We find here the themes of the previous novels: poverty, lust for women, the difficulty of being Italian and Catholic. In the second part, he is writing a book and tells about his tragic relationship with a Mexican girl, Camilla.

I could talk about the birth of a writer, from the excruciating doubts about his gift to the serenity achieved through having his first good idea for a novel. Then writing brings him happiness and is not a painful process as often described by other writers.

I could also choose to describe the maturity Arturo gains in his relationships with women and how desire is now under better regulation than in The Road to Los Angeles. His craving for women is muted by his love for literature. Writing is the desire which outdoes physical ones, food and sex included.

 But I would rather write about Los Angeles, for a sheerly selfish reason: I picked up John Fante’s work these days to read about California. Though there were fascinating descriptions of stevedores, shores and fish factories, in The Road to Los Angeles, Ask the Dust better met my expectations. Los Angeles is a character itself in Arturo’s life and it fills the novel by its underlying presence.

What was odd to me is how the city seems already so contemporary, certainly smaller but with all the attributes of today Los Angeles, as I imagine it. Fante leads us through highways, buildings, cafes to have a beer and eat hamburgers, neons, and abandoned suburbs. Everything sounds familiar and if it weren’t for the brand of the cars, the absence of phones and a short reference to the beginning of the war in Europe, I would have forgotten this was taking place in 1939.

More than its architecture, the geographic position and the population create the identity of the city.

Two angels bent over Los Angeles’s cradle: the Ocean and the Desert, each of them blowing its influence on the city’s climate like winds on Venus in Botticelli’s painting. Fog and sand.

I was surprised by the constant reference to fog, that I had already noticed in The Road to Los Angeles. When I think of a foggy city, the first name that comes to my mind is inevitably London. And then San Francisco. But I would never have associated Los Angeles with fog. However, look what happens when Arturo opens his windows to freshen the air in his room.

I threw open the two windows and watched the fog float through in sad tumbling lumps. When it got too cold I closed the windows and, though the room was wet from the fog and my papers and books were filled with dampness, the perfume was still there unmistakably.

Nonetheless, Arturo’s room is in no better shape after the desert has reminded Los Angeles of its close presence:

Sand from the Mojave had blown across the city. Tiny brown grains of sand clung to my fingertips whenever I touched anything, and when I got back to my room I found the mechanism of my new typewriter glutted with sand. It was in my ears and in my hair. When I took off my clothes it fell like powder to the floor.

Fante also points out the fragility of the city, its existence in constant jeopardy because of earthquakes and the power of nature, just waiting for the opportunity to gain the ground back on cardboard human constructions.

Here was the endlessly mute placidity of nature, indifferent to the great city; here was the desert beneath these streets, around these streets, waiting for the city to die, to cover it with timeless sand once more. There came over me a terrifying sense of understanding about the meaning and the pathetic destiny of men. The desert was always there, a patient white animal, waiting for men to die, for civilizations to flicker and pass into the darkness.

As for the population, of course, I knew L.A. is a city of immigrants. But I always pictured people leaving the East to make a brand new start the West. And Fante describes quite another kind of newcomers: retirees, numerous enough to be noticeable on the streets.

The old folks from Indiana and Iowa and Illinois, from Boston and Kansas City and Des Moines, they sold their homes, their stores, and they came here by train and by automobile to the land of sunshine, to die in the sun, with just enough money to live until the sun killed them, tore themselves out by the roots in their last days, deserted the smug prosperity of Kansas City and Chicago and Peoria to find a place in the sun.

Who knew that moving South for retirement was already in style in the 1930s ? Not I.

 I didn’t expect that Los Angeles was already so multicultural, with Mexican, Chinese, Japanese communities and neighbourhoods. I knew Chinese came to America to build the rail-roads and that there were Japanese on the West Coast because of their being parked in camps after Pearl Harbor. The presence of Mexicans seems natural too, considering how close the border is. But I never thought they were so numerous so early in the 20th Century.

 I lack the words to describe Fante’s amazing style. I could quote many different breathtaking descriptions of both desert and sea. His style reminds me of modern paintings. Just as a face can be painted with blue tones and still better reveal the soul of the subject than if the actual colours had been used, Fante’s choice of words is so powerful that you can almost feel the implacable heat, the wind, the dust. He can describe a person in a few words.

More than a style, he has a voice, with breathings, accelerations, music and change of tones. An author to read absolutely.

I reviewed The Road to Los Angeles here

I am on the threshold of expression (Arturo Bandini)

June 18, 2010 11 comments

The Road to Los Angeles, by John Fante

The Road to Los Angeles is the second volume of the Arturo Bandini Saga. John Fante wrote it in 1936 but it was published posthumously in 1985. According to the editorial note of my American edition, the subject was too provocative for the mid-1930s. I suppose it’s due to Arturo’s atheism and his communist views. The first book of the saga is Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), which has already been reviewed by Max Cairnduff (1) I didn’t read any other reviews before writing mine, to be sure to only express my own thoughts.

In this volume, Arturo Bandini, the alter ego of John Fante, is 18. His life is at a crossroad. After his father died, he dropped out of high school to make a living to support his mother Maria and his 16-years-old sister Mona.
The Road to Los Angeles is actually the psychological road Arturo is following to leave childhood behind him and move out to Los Angeles to start his grown-up life. The novel is centred on Arturo’s inner mind. He struggles to discover who he is and what he will do with his life. Early in the novel, he declares he wants to be a writer:

“The writing instinct has always lain dormant in me. Now it is in the process of metamorphosis. The era of transition has passed. I am on the threshold of expression.”

We thus follow him through his metamorphosis.
His adolescence is not finished yet and he has typical teenage rebellion crises. He fights with his mother and has a stormy relationship with his nun-to-be sister. He reads frantically all kinds of books, delights in grandiloquent expressions and concepts, without quite understanding them. He rejects his Catholic education, becomes obsessed with sex and now worships the secular Trinity of males: Legs, Breasts and Bottoms. (NB: Brain wishes it could one day dismiss one of the Trinity members to take their place but yet to no avail.)
Let’s follow Arturo at the public library :

“Will you show me the history section?” I said.
She smiled that she would, and I followed. It was a disappointment. The dress was the wrong kind, a light blue; the light didn’t penetrate. I watched the curve of her heels. I felt like kissing them. At History, she turned and sensed I’d been thinking of her deeply. I felt the cold you through her. She want back to the desk. I pulled out books and put them back again. She still felt my thoughts, but I didn’t want to think of anything else. Her legs were crossed under the desk. They were wonderful. I wanted to hug them.
Our eyes met and she smiled, with a smile that said: go ahead and look if you like; there’s nothing I can do about it, although I’d like to slap your face. I wanted to talk to her. I could quote her swell things from Nietzsche; that passage from Zarathustra on voluptuousness. Ah! But I could never quote that one”

He has multiple fantasies about real and unreal women. When they’re real, he never dares talking to them. Since I’m a woman, I don’t know how it feels to be an adolescent boy but Fante seems insightful. I do remember though my legs being watched that way and being given such silly nicknames as “Beautiful Legs”, whose you never know whether they’re a tribute to your legs or an offence to your unremarkable face.
Moreover, having a Catholic Italian-French grand-mother, I do sympathize with his rebellion against religion. I dreamt of ditching mass and couldn’t because my grand-mother would be checking I was there. I remember quite well the fight I had with my father when I declared I would never attend mass again.

Arturo goes through teenage mood swings. He may be deeply convinced he is a genius and a minute later, be as deeply convinced that he is a despicable loser. He experiences outbursts of violence, which can be physical, like spending an afternoon killing crabs, or verbal, with swearwords Captain Haddock would be proud of:

“You sanctimonious, retch-provoking she-nun of a bitch-infested nausea-provoking nun of vile boobish baboon of a brummagem Catholic heritage.”

When Arturo eventually writes his first novel, the metamorphosis is completed.

“I looked up. It was daylight. The fog choked the room. The gas was out. My hands were numb. A blister showed on my pencil finger. My eyes burned. My back ached. I could barely move from the cold. But never in my life had I felt better.”

His story may not be the best novel ever written but now he’s sure he’s meant to be a writer. Writing brings him happiness.
Fante succeeds in describing the turmoil of adolescence and its luxuriant imaginary life. He never judges Arturo. His look is full of tenderness but without concealing Arturo’s flaws or foolishness and his benevolence reaches the reader.
Apart from Arturo’s personal dramas, Fante also succeeds in showing the life and work conditions of poor immigrants workers. Indeed, the latest job Arturo takes is in a fish cannery. He spends his first day vomiting because of the heavy and persistent smell of mackerels and on his way home…

“Travelling with me was the stench of fish, a shadow that could not be seen but smelled. It followed me up the apartment the smell was everywhere, drifting straight for every corner of the apartment.”

The smell was bad enough that the Catholic Bandinis couldn’t stand the idea of eating fish and ate meat even on Fridays. John Fante describes the tough work in these factories, the heat, the absurdity of the job.

“My uncle was right about the work, all right. It was work done without thinking. You might just as well have left your brains at home on that job. All we did through the whole day was stand there and move ours arms and legs.”

The workers earn just enough money to survive and are not always well fed. Fante was probably attracted to communist ideology, as many artists of the 1930s.

I discovered John Fante around 1990, through Philippe Djian’s novels and interviews. I like his style, made of short sentences and funny images. He has a real sense for picturing people and sceneries, like this description of the owner of the fish cannery.

“This man was Shorty Naylor. He was much smaller than I was. He was very thin. His collarbones stuck out. He had no teeth worth mentioning in his mouth, only one or two which were worse than nothing. His eyes were like aged oysters on a sheet of newspaper. Tobacco juice caked the corners of his mouth like dry chocolate. His was the look of a rat in waiting. It seemed he had never been out in the sun, his face was so grey.”

 Annie Proulx has also this kind of sharp and precise way of writing.
The Road to Los Angeles is huge fun. I started reading it in a train, where I had got on all stressed by work. I got off totally relaxed, smiling. This novel should prescribed as a tranquillizer!
I have at home the third volume of the saga, Ask the Dust, and I plan to read it soon.

PS : I know I used a lot of quotes in this post, but honestly, it was hard to chose. And for once, I read the book in English, so I had quotes in the proper language.

I also reviewed Ask the Dust here

(1)  http://pechorinsjournal.wordpress.com/category/fante-john

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