"The Big Hunger" by John Fante

John Fante has always been one of my favorite authors, especially his novel “Ask the Dust”, which is probably his best known.  “The Big Hunger” is a collection of short stories he had written between 1932 -1959 and many of these have been previously published in magazines such as Esquire and Colliers.  These stories get progressively better as you read them and the dominant theme among these stories is the Italian-American experience in America; the immigrant experience and the struggle between the old culture and the new.  

 

Fante’s prose is crisp, clean and tough - very straightforward, lean and to the point yet it's somehow literary in a very non-literary way.  His influence on Charles Bukowski (who named Fante as one of his literary heroes) is obvious, although I feel that Fante is a much better writer of fiction than Bukowski was.  (I always thought Bukowski was a better poet than novelist, but that’s just me.)  But if you like Bukowski, you will enjoy Fante as well.  If you haven’t read John Fante, this is a great introduction to his work, then go out and read “Ask the Dust.”  He’s a writer that will not disappoint.  Probably one of America's most neglected writers.    

 
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