Nothing Is Invisible

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Posts Tagged ‘American Novels’

The Bandini Quartet – John Fante

Posted by the editors on Friday, 1 July 2011

Ask the Dust, by John Fante

image: Wikipedia

The Bandini Quartet (novels) (1938-1985) by John Fante  The Bandini Quartet is a collection of four novels by John Fante: Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), The Road to Los Angeles (1985), Ask the Dust (1939) and Dreams From Bunker Hill (1982), written in a style which may be described as “dirty realism”, and featuring the life and tribulations of first generation Italian-American Arturo Bandini, from young adolescent to disillusioned novelist, short story writer and Hollywood screenwriter.  Boisterous, touching, sharp.  As The New York Times has written, “Either the work of John Fante is unknown to you or it is unforgettable.  He is not the kind of writer to leave room in between.” (Each novel is also available separately)(PR)

David Foster Wallace readers may note that in his 1987 novel The Broom of the System Lavache ‘Stoney’ Beadsman has a wooden leg with a hidden drawer in which he keeps marijuana cigarettes and other illegal substances. Ch. 4 of Ask the Dust refers to a character named Benny Cohen who, “had a wooden leg with a little door in it. Inside the door were marijuana cigarets. He sold them for fifteen cents apiece.”

See our previous posts on David Foster Wallace: The Last Audit – Review of David Foster Wallace’s “The Pale King” by Tom McCarthy, A Self-Help Reader for David Foster Wallace, The Pale King – David Foster Wallace & the Staggering, Multifarious, Cacophonous Predicament, David Foster Wallace – Piecing Together a Posthumous Novel, The Pale King

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Underworld

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 26 June 2011

Cover to the first edition

Underworld by Don DeLillo, first edition cover

Underworld (1997) (novel) by Don DeLillo (White Noise (1985), Cosmopolis (2003),  Falling Man (2007), Point Omega (2010)  This magnificent and complex post-modern novel with its rich abundance of intertwined themes, from baseball to radioactive waste, from family, and love, to J. Edgar Hoover, from Jesuits to the Mafia, to name but a few, is, quite simply, essential reading. DeLillo’s superb sensitivity to language, and to the construction of honestly beautiful sentences and dialogue, make Underworld, and its ambiguous and sinister music of the spheres, an enduring, moving, thought-provoking pleasure. (PR)

See also our review of DeLillo’s 2010 novel Point Omega, here.

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What I Loved

Posted by the editors on Monday, 11 April 2011

What I Loved

What I Loved, by Siri Hustvedt, cover

What I Loved (novel) (2003) by Siri Hustvedt.  The New York art scene, love, personality disorders and murder. The book jacket calls it “a beautifully written and insightful novel about the way we live now” (Kirkus UK), and Geraldine Bedell, in The Observer section of The Guardian, says it is”…an intellectual page-turner…a ferociously clever book”.  Nevertheless, and though I thoroughly enjoyed Hustvedt’s “The Sorrows of An American“, I tend to agree with kirkusreviews.com, which stated:  “A mannered, somewhat formulaic account of a critic’s long and complicated friendship with an artist, presented by Hustvedt (Yonder, 1998, etc.) with just a touch of melodrama amid the melancholy…told in a gossipy, insider’s tone likely to put off anyone not in (or interested in) the New York art world.”  I may even be tempted to go a bit further in saying that the writing  made me wonder, at times, how well Hustvedt really masters the English language.  Interesting in parts, but really rather tiresome in the long haul. (PR)

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top image: waterstones.com

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