It is currently Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:48 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: ATD Question #23 ~ Writing Style - In Fante's Words
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:12 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
In the letters included at the back of Ask the Dust John Fante writes to his cousin Jo Campiglia,

“I am grateful for your letter, and not surprised or disappointed that you like Bandini better than Ask the Dust, I think the writing in Ask the Dust is superior to that in Bandini, but that the story in Bandini was much closer to me than that in Ask the Dust. For that reason I couldn’t possibly make this new book sing with the lyrical tone of Bandini. The first book came from my heart; the second from my head…”

Do you agree? What differences in style, if any, did you notice between the two books?



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:40 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Posts: 3907
Location: Florida
Actually I agree with Fante's answer here. The first book was reliving real life experiences with his own family as characters, where Ask the Dust was based on a woman he knew(Camilla) and his slow start into being a writer. He added in fictional characters like Vera and most likely Hellfrick even though they may be partly based on people he had met. His descriptions of the area were great because he really lived there but his writng is not the same as events he actually lived in Bandini. I think adding in real events like the earthquake was good because he needed a change of scenery in the story and he was able to make use of his very visual descriptions and tie it into the story. He mixed real life his editor, not real books he had written, with some real experiences and some fantasy for the story. I think the way he writes experiences he didn't live are what made some of you feel like parts of the story were fantasy.

Strangely enough I agree with his cousin, I liked Bandini better and I also like 1933 was a bad year because the events seemed to be based on his real life. Even though the film ATD seems to not have very good reviews I liked it better than the book.



_________________________________________________________
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:10 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Posts: 2503
Location: Colorado
Who can argue with the author, right?
But I liked ADT better. Maybe it was because of the setting (warmer in every way) and the attention to the details of the environment he was seeing for the first time. Maybe it was because he was OUT of that miserable situation called a 'home life' in Colorado. I guess ATD was more 'from the head' and less raw...though I thought it was pretty raw in its own right. There certainly was more of an interior tone in ATD than in Bandini, which I liked because I could see Arturo evolving. And I really liked the character of Camilla. And the ending.



_________________________________________________________
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 2:26 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm
Posts: 1427
Well, then, that explains it! :idea: The first book came from his heart, the second from his head. Bandini, with its complex and troubling family situation, got me much more involved than Ask the Dust with its strange romantic shenanigans. Arturo's emotions were very raw and straightforward in the first book, as a teenager's probably would be. He was overly dramatic, but that made it kind of amusing to me. He said he loathed everything from soap and water to his little brother, basically couldn't handle anything that was happening around him. But, also, he had some very real and very serious problems to figure out without much in the way of guidelines to follow.
I'm not very observant of writing style, but Bandini seemed to appeal to the senses so much. We knew how everything felt, smelled, tasted, sounded---even inanimate objects ( "Bandini's heavy battered cup, larger and clumsier than the others, seemed to convey an injured pride that it had remained unused throughout the meal.")!
So I agree.



_________________________________________________________
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 3:43 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:05 am
Posts: 2508
Location: Villa Incognito
Bandini rolled out as a continuous, straightforward narrative written in a rush of emotion, while ATD built up as a series carefully staged vignettes, full of deliberate language and visual metaphors. The chapters were almost like pictures in a gallery... you stop, take it in and move on. Some worked better than others, but together they formed a pretty cohesive exhibit.

For me, ATD was a much richer and fulfilling experience. Despite the raw emotion of Bandini, I found ATD a more emotionally revealing book. Even though it was more staged... Bandini told more of the "whats" and ATD attempted the answer more the "whys."

Art is, after all, a bending of reality to shake your senses and find greater meaning. Sorry mates, I couldn't resist:

Image



_________________________________________________________
"You can't broom out your head. You certainly can't broom out your heart. And there's a hot wire between them, and everything shows in the eyes."
—Johnny Depp
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:38 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Posts: 19746
Location: near Omaha
I would have to agree. Bandini seemed to be much more visceral, the scenes were related the way Arturo felt about the events. To me, ATD was more like mental macho waffling, not so much real emotion. Like gemini I liked the movie much better, but I am sure that is for another question.

This whole discussion has been difficult for me because I really didn't like this book much, while Bandini grabbed me from page one and kept me really involved all the way through. Fante's assessment of the difference in his writing might explain why.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:32 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
Good one, db! :lol:

Although there are part of Ask the Dust I enjoyed reading, I preferred Bandini, maybe because of what Fante said, that it came from his heart. I saw that much more in Bandini than I did in Ask The Dust which seemed more contrived. Even though some of the events and of course the setting were from Fante's life, Bandini captured me on an emotional level that I didn't get from Ask the Dust.



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 7:24 pm 
JDZ Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Posts: 12408
Location: The Left Coast
dharma_bum wrote:
Bandini rolled out as a continuous, straightforward narrative written in a rush of emotion, while ATD built up as a series carefully staged vignettes, full of deliberate language and visual metaphors. The chapters were almost like pictures in a gallery... you stop, take it in and move on. Some worked better than others, but together they formed a pretty cohesive exhibit.

I felt exactly the same way after each chapter.


ATD seemed to contain much from his head…..not necessarily meaning he fabricated it, but that he rambled and ranted a lot of the time—in a stream of consciousness style of writing, which I really liked. I also loved his descriptions. I found Bandini to be much more of a depressing book. And maybe that is because it was more emotionally raw and contained harsher realism.

Hold onto your thoughts about ATD, the movie. We will be comparing it with the book in a few days.



_________________________________________________________
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:35 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Posts: 2059
Location: Olney, Maryland
Liz wrote:
I found Bandini to be much more of a depressing book. And maybe that is because it was more emotionally raw and contained harsher realism.
Or was it that there were more people messing up their lives in Bandini, rather than mainly just Arturo and Camilla in ATD?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:57 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
fansmom wrote:
Liz wrote:
I found Bandini to be much more of a depressing book. And maybe that is because it was more emotionally raw and contained harsher realism.
Or was it that there were more people messing up their lives in Bandini, rather than mainly just Arturo and Camilla in ATD?


I think I found Bandini harsher (at the same time it tugged at my heart) because Arturo was a child. I cut him more slack because of that and I wanted the adults in his life to be more accountable. Not only were they messing up their lives they were messing up the lives of their children. In ATD Arturo was the adult and I wanted him to be more accountable for his actions.



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:58 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Posts: 1381
Location: uk
Bandini made me feel more, ATD made me think more, which ties in with Fante's view. I like db's comment about the series of vignettes. I also thought that the characters were a series of grotesques and quite often one-dimensional, strange or repelling. But of course, they were all presented through Arturo's eyes and he is one flawed person. I also agree with the points about the style - it did seems more contrived and artificial. After a while, the references to the dust got on my nerves, like a nervous tic. (Mind you, having lived with plaster dust in my house on and off for the last few weeks, maybe that response is entirely appropriate! I begin to see his point about it being everywhere.) So all in all, I found myself feeling quite emotionally distant from it. Also, the Arturo of ATD seemed less believable than the Arturo of Bandini. The switch from childish, petulant and plain nasty letter to Sammy, to lyrical reflection on the human condition; the tormenting of Camilla to the compassion for Vera - really? OK, so we are all a mass of contradictions, but I found the changes in Arturo a bit extreme. Then again, I gave up trying to think of ATD as a realistic book and began to think of it as allegorical and poetical. Bandini switched from one narrative viewpoint to another, which I normally don't enjoy much, but I think it helped there, probably because of the main character. It was quite nice to get a break from his perspective - although I didn't exactly enjoy being in the other characters' heads much either. But it did remind me of a friend's favourite saying that there are three truths: your truth, my truth, and the truth in the middle. I suppose truth is what we got in the book, one way or another.
I found both books depressing. Both explore the failure of human beings to connect fully and happily. Oddly enough, the more I think about it, the more the books remind me of my reaction to Blade Runner. Rich appeal to the senses; very thought-provoking; similar themes in some ways. In Blade Runner, a character asks:"Too bad she won't live. But then again, who does?" That question lies at the heart of the books, I think.
I have wondered off the point of style but couldn't give a response to them without thinking about other things too.



_________________________________________________________
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:56 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Posts: 3907
Location: Florida
Some of you said you found Bandini a more depressing book. Strangely I found it to be the other way around with ATD being much more depressing. Bandini got my temper in a rush and I wanted to whack a couple characters on the head but that is what was intriguing about it. I didn't agree with a lot of what went on but the book was about them not me. In ATD I was totally turned off in a couple chapters and felt Arturo was hopeless. I didn't like the ending at all. ( Sorry Parlez)
Bandini was emotional but ended with hope where ATD was depressing in many areas and the ending was the same.



_________________________________________________________
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.
Offline
 Profile WWW  
 
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:03 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Posts: 10376
Location: Austin
suec, I think your first line sums up the difference between the two books for me. I also want to add that even though I liked Bandini more, I think our discussion of Ask the Dust has been excellent so far! :cool:

Just so we don't get off on it yet, I'll let you know that we will be posting a specific question on the ending of the book. It definitely deserves to be discussed!



_________________________________________________________
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 1 [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


phpBB skin developed by: John Olson
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group