{REVIEWED} Ask the Dust

By René Georg Vasicek
Ask the Dust is a dangerous book. Arturo Bandini, the narrator, is a terrorist of the mind. He explodes reality and makes you believe in the urgency of now: “Los Angeles, give me some of you! Los Angeles come to me the way I came to you, my feet over your streets, you pretty town I loved you so much, you sad flower in the sand, you pretty town.”

I didn’t think literature was possible in Los Angeles, and then I read Ask the Dust (1939) by John Fante. At the time I thought I was finished …