John Fante is a lost gem of American literature and the man who was credited by Charles Bukowski as the inspiration for him to start writing. In a life that spanned 74 years, Fante wrote several great novels, such as Ask the Dust, and numerous screenplays. He died in 1983 from diabetes-related complications.
Trapped in a small, poverty-ridden town in 1933, seventeen-year-old Dominic Molise yearns to fulfil his own dreams of becoming an American sports hero. This teenage southpaw aspires to the big leagues, big recognition and big love. He struggles, though, against the reality of his Italian parents, and comes under pressure to go into the family business. Brick-laying is not for Dominic. His father, however, seeks to pre-empt the inevitable road to failure by wanting Dominic to pick up a trowel instead of a pitcher's glove. His mother's response is to pray.
At once the story of class and an individual's struggle during hard times in America, 1933 was a Bad Year is a wonderful tale of childhood and its dissipation into adulthood.
Born in Denver on 8 April 1909, John Fante migrated to Los Angeles in his early twenties. Classically out of place in a town built on celluloid dreams, Fante's literary fiction was full of torn grace and redemptive vengeance. Wait Until Spring, Bandini (1938), his first novel, began the saga of Arturo Bandini, a character whose story continues in The Road to Los Angeles, Ask the Dust and Dreams from Bunker Hill - collectively known as The Bandini Quartet. Fante published several other novels, as well as stories, novellas and screenplays in his seventy-four years, including The Brotherhood of the Grape (1977) and 1933 Was A Bad Year (posthumously, 1985). He was posthumously recognised in 1987 with a Lifetime Achievement Award by PEN in Los Angeles, four years after his death from diabetes-related complications.