Ask the Dust

I’m having a hard time placing this in the hardboiled/noir context. It seems a bit of an anomaly, especially coming after Red Harvest. I see some connections. The first person narration is something of a noir trope, but Fante hardly uses it in the same manner. Speaking of tropes, it might be interesting to look at how the works we’re reading connect to film noir tropes. Even though we’re primarily looking at novels rather than film, there are commonalities.

Arturo Bandini’s a bit of a loony, and the point of view puts us inside his head. That and the LA locale relate to some of Ellroy’s work, particularly White Jazz. An interesting thing about the point of view is that it shows us the character’s perception of situations rather than the “reality,” which might be quite different. Is Bandini a great writer, or just a crazy guy with a high opinion of himself? Maybe Hackmuth publishes anything.

In the edition I have, Bukowski’s preface says, “Each line had its own energy and was followed by another like it…. The humor and the pain were intermixed with superb simplicity.” That could apply to Hemingway and Hammett as well. As the novel progresses maybe it will become more clear to me.

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