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Wait Until Spring, Bandini

John Fante

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Canongate Books Ltd

Published : 2007

Copyright : John Fante 1938, 1983

ISBN-10 : PB 1-84195-832-8
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-84195-832-3

Publisher's Write-Up

A powerful, lyrical and touching tale of a turbulent adolescent trying to break out of the suffocating, prison-like confinements of family, poverty and religion in a small town, Wait Until Spring, Bandini tells the story of a winter in the childhood of Arturo Bandini, oldest son of Italian immigrants living in Colorado during the Great Depression.

With its powerful and evocative account of tragic love affairs, grinding poverty and adolescence in turmoil, this first novel from the Bandini quartet is a much-neglected masterpiece of modern American literature.

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Review by Jessica (120108) Rating (8/10)

Review by Jessica
Rating 8/10
Born in Denver in 1909 John Fante migrated to Los Angeles in his twenties. He wrote stories for American magazines and collections of short stories for numerous screen plays.

Wait Until Spring, Bandini, was his first published novel in 1938 followed in 1939 by Ask the Dust another one of the Bandini cycle of novels. He was only discovered as a great fiction writer many years later. He died in 1983 aged 74 and posthumously recognized in 1987 with a Lifetime Achievement Award by P.E.N, Los Angeles. He is now regarded as one of the finest writers of his generation.

If you haven’t discovered this book yet you are in for a treat. This is a book that should never be forgotten. All facets of human nature are brought out on every page in every line. The evocative story tells of a harsh winter in Colorado, America. Svevo Bandini lived with his frail wife Maria, a fanatical Catholic woman, who always forgave her husband and saw the best in him. Their sons adored her and at the same time feared their father.

It was during the Great Depression and the family of Italian immigrants struggled to survive. Arturo, the eldest son in the throes of adolescence, has to deal with the unrequited love of his life, Rosa, who was in his class at school. The school is run by nuns who can see right into the boy’s souls at a piercing glance, or so it seems.

Poverty makes life very difficult for the family and Svevo the father is not always at home. Where he goes and the effect it has on the boys and Maria is sad, humorous and shaming. How Arturo struggles to cope with his raging hormones and learn and obey the Catechism and its rules, must be typical of many Catholic children. He is so afraid of committing a sin and every day is a mind-field for him.

The author’s descriptions of the weather and environment are stunning. I didn’t want the story to end and I loved the powerful characters. His perception of human nature, with all its foibles, is brilliant. John Fante’s book is an absolute must and I am so delighted to have discovered him.
Jessica (12th January 2008)

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