John Fante's work has consistently delved into profound themes, including the elusive American Dream, the delicate psychology of immigrants, and the intricate dynamics of Italian American families. This study reveals the ingenious manner in which Fante employs humor and satire as powerful rhetorical devices to breathe life into his Italian, Italian American, and American characters. Drawing inspiration from literary giants such as Luigi Pirandello and René Girard, the author embarks on a fascinating journey into Fante's rich literary landscape.
When We Were Bandini also offers an engaging comparison between Fante's works and those of other authors like Cervantes, Hamsun, Bukowski, and even his own son, Dan Fante. This comparative analysis sheds light on the possible reasons behind Fante's unique status: he is a cult writer in Europe, relatively underappreciated in his home country, the United States.
Challenging the conventional notions of Fante as a strictly autobiographical and confessional writer, the author urges readers to look beyond the surface and unravel the layers of his literary genius.
Emanuele Pettener is associate professor of Italian at Florida Atlantic University.