Like Hubert Selby Jr. before him, Dan Fante refuses to flinch. His writing is characterised by honest storytelling. He doesn’t try to sound like a writer or obstruct the flow of the story in any way. He has no apparent intention of his work being analysed, and seems to be unconcerned with literary worth, doesn’t fill space with unnecessary allusions or metaphors, he’s not the pretentious know-it-all smirking from behind a screen. Dan Fante’s work does not ape anybody, doesn’t try to evoke another era, doesn’t attempt to be surreal, contemporary, post-modern or book club material. While the Booker Prize scratches its PR chin and newspapers ponder the state of publishing, Dan Fante continues to write.
I had the pleasure of reading Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving, Dan Fante’s latest book, while on my train travels. It felt like I was holding a close friend and listening to him speak his secrets into my ear alone, reminded of when I was a boy and was carrying a Jack London novel around with me like priceless treasure to soothe me and give me the support and friendship I needed. I held my copy of Fante tight, proud to be reading it while others around me stared into their laptops, drank their coffees. (more…)