The story of the hard-living L.A. writer as we know it was born in the early 1900s with John Fante. The novelist, best known for his 1939 novel Ask the Dust, painted an unashamed portrait a struggling young writer in his four-novel Bandini Quartet, a series that followed Fante’s semi-autobiographical Arturo Bandini character. He explored God, women, booze and the cruel majesty that is L.A., establishing himself as one of the City of Angels’ most beloved scribes.
In true Bandini style, Fante’s greatness was recognized much later in his life with some help from another down-and-out L.A. writer, Charles Bukowski, who went so far as to say “Fante was my God” in his introduction for Ask the Dust. The novel was later adapted for the big screen in 2006 with Colin Farrell in the lead role.
In honor of Fante’s birthday, we picked eight quotes from what the masses have dubbed his best novel. Check out some of our favorite quotes above, and share your own in the comments section.
1 of 8
"Bandini on the bed, put himself there with an air of casualness, like a man who knew how to sit on a bed."
2 of 8
"Ah, Los Angeles! Dust and fog of your lonely streets, I am no longer lonely. Just you wait, all of you ghosts of this room, just you wait, because it will happen, as sure as there's a God in heaven."
3 of 8
"You are nobody, and I might have been somebody, and the road to each of us is love."
4 of 8
"I have wanted women whose very shoes are worth all I have ever possessed."
5 of 8
"Careful, Arturo Bandini: don't strain your eyesight, remember what happened to Tarkington, remember what happened to James Joyce."
6 of 8
"I was twenty then. What the hell, I used to say, take your time, Bandini. You got ten years to write a book, so take it easy, get out and learn about life, walk the streets. That's your trouble: your ignorance of life."
7 of 8
"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."
8 of 8
"Almighty God, I am sorry I am now an athiest, but have You read Nietzsche?"