Ask the Dust

My procrastination pisses me off more than I enjoy putting things off. Haha. But at the same time, at least my ideas will be fresh for tonight.

Was it just me or was the first paragraph one of the better openings of a book ever?

“One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out. That was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.”

When I think about what I want to say about the book, the first thing that comes to mind is the writing. The spare, yet well-crafted prose really brings you into the story and makes the people and places being described come to life. It’s one of those books where you marvel at the way the words are put together and what such simple combinations of words can evoke. Vivid descriptions of the city and the people around him in lines like “Then I went down the hill on Olive Street, past the horrible frame houses reeking with murder stories” and “I was down on Fifth and Olive, where the big street cars chewed your ears with their noise.” I  found it fitting for Bandini, to always be reaching for a good metaphor to describe the scenes and people around him. When you realize that Bandini is a writer, the reading becomes easier. You are going through his thought processes with him and it really is a great way to read a book.

Bandini’s relationship with Camilla is one of the more intriguing love stories of any book I have read in the sense that they are exactly what the other needs and at the same time they are each other’s worst enemies. Bandini can be caring but he can also be cruel when Camilla taunts and teases him, or when his insecurities get the best of him. Over the course of the novel Bandini swings wildly from confidence and arrogance to insecurity and despair. During interactions with Camilla he can flip between the two in an instant.

I actually prefer Fante’s writing to Hemingway’s. I wonder if he is considered as great as him.

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