Troy Patterson
March 22, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

The John Fante Reader

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Fante was born in Denver in 1909 and died in L.A. in 1983. In between, he wrote swift, blunt lines of fiction indebted to Hemingway and dusted in Chandler grit. This anthology collates excerpts from his novels and stories into a semiautobiography that captures the rigors of poverty, the pull of ambition, and the lure of Hollywood. Fante dryly goofs on the self-seriousness of his young heroes even as he illustrates the full passion of their striving. One stand-in reads Winesburg, Ohio, then another Sherwood Anderson novel, then picks up a pencil himself: ”I…tried to write, until I felt I could not go on because the words would not come as they did in Anderson, they only came like drops of blood from my heart.”

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