Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mistaken Identity

Last month I reported that I had bought Mooch by Dan Fante among several other volumes on sale at the Green Valley Book Fair. It turns out that I thought I had purchased a book by John Fante, whose book Ask the Dust has recently been made into a movie. Dan Fante, I should have known, is the son of the late John Fante, and has published several novels and a collection of short stories, as well as poetry. Here is an interview with Dan Fante in Lummox. Oops.

I read the book anyway and provided a nice relief from the more serious stuff I've been reading. Mooch is pulp fiction: entertaining, fast-paced, appalling. It tells the story of Bruno Dante, son of novelist Jonathan Dante. Bruno has seen hard times and now is struggling to stay sober. He manages to get a high-paying telemarketing job which he screws up because he falls (absolutely implausibly) in love with a co-worker who speaks in a cartoonish accent and gets him into trouble. If Bruno hadn't been a struggling writer, I probably would have quit reading, but I was hooked on page 37:
"I came to an immediate decision: fuck my writing career. My head was clear for the first time in years. I could foresee my own future. Novelists and screenwriters like Jonathan Dante died broke in L.A., humiliated, compromised. Their balls and their talent sacrificed to a ridiculous Hollywood success fantasy. No one cared about words anymore. Literature was deader than a Seinfeld rerun."
God, I hope not. Eventually, though, Dante sends off his story to seven (glad to see he believes in sim-subbing) "high-end men's magazines." So I kept reading to see what would happen.

All in all, it could have been worse.


bevjackson said...

LOL...I do things like this all the time. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

Right now I'm trying to get into a John Irving novel "Until I Find You" and every page is a chore up until about pg. 19. I will perservere, but it's a library book so I loathe the pressure. It's also over 800 pages long. Just shoot me.

Clifford Garstang said...

I just don't have patience for the really long ones anymore--but the Irving is on my list (and my shelf). Maybe if someone held a gun to my head . . .

steve said...

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