LAST WEEK, as a sort of virtual Christmas present, a writer friend posted a link to an “exhibit” dedicated to the work of John Fante. I haven’t re-read Ask the Dust or Dreams from Bunker Hill or Wait Until Spring, Bandini (my favorite Fantes) for sometime, so was looking forward to venturing out and spending some time looking at ephemera — typewriters and manuscript sheets perhaps, photographs of old Los Angeles. As it turns out, you don’t have to leave your computer to fall down a rabbit hole of the author’s vision. UCLA’s Special Collections has assembled an elegant and expansive online look at Fante’s life and work which was the basis of an on-site exhibition in 2011.
John Fante: A Life in the Works moves chapter by chapter through Fante’s 40-year career.
There are manuscripts, book covers, photographs, the whole nine yards — enough to send you back in time, and then back to your old worn out paperbacks.
“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.”
― John Fante, Ask the Dust