Ask The Dust, 2012

This was taken on not far from St. Paul’s, London, UK. I was lost, OK?

Ask The Dust  is a novel by John Fante. It was published in 1939.

The book is set during the depression era. The main character, Arturo Bandini, is quite obviously a stand-in for Fante himself – a writer struggling to both feed himself (he’s reduced to eating the zest of oranges at one point), and make it in Los Angeles. He falls in love with a waitress, Camilla Lopez, and finds out she has troubles of her own, including a dying lover. It’s a grand tragedy, and was a huge influence on Charles Bukowski. I read it in my rudderless twenties. The copy on our shelves was published by Rebel Inc. which was a very hip publishing house at the time (other authors include Knut Hamsun and Jim Dodge (hooray!).

Anyway, here’s the first paragraph:

One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out: that was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under the door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.

In our house, the book can be found: sitting room, right-hand bookshelves, third shelf down.

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May I recommend for your delectation and delight a most wondrous photography blog full to the brim with melancholy and absence: Monochrome80iso.

My usual thanks to John and Deanne, who made me think about titles. Extra thanks to Deanne for  tag ideas etc (and for bitter-sweet and brilliant posts every day). Ta too to Terry for sending me bookshelfwards in search of ideas, and of course to Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. The most recent one is a few posts back, so check it out!

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