This is a book I’ve heard about all my life, and have always meant to read. But, you know how it goes… It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia comes on, and the next thing you know it’s 2 am and you’re covered in the residue of a thousand Cheetos…
Published in 1939, Ask the Dust is a novel about a man living in a shitty resident hotel in 1930s Los Angeles, trying desperately to make it as a writer. The setting alone is enough to make me prick up my ears. Right? It’s very likely autobiographical, based on the real-life struggles of Fante himself. And it has quite the cult following. Robert Towne called it the greatest book ever written about Los Angeles.
Charles Bukowski contributed the introduction to this edition, and admittedly worshiped at the altar of John Fante. In fact, he helped rescue this book from obscurity during the late 1970s, when he convinced his publisher to reissue it.
I’m no expert — I only downloaded it myself fifteen minutes ago — but I’m confident in recommending this one. I’ve been hearing about its greatness since the 1980s. And it’s hard to go wrong at today’s Kindle price of $1.99.