>Last month I reported that I had bought Mooch by Dan Fante among several other volumes on sale at the Green Valley Book Fair. It turns out that I thought I had purchased a book by John Fante, whose book Ask the Dust has recently been made into a movie. Dan Fante, I should have known, is the son of the late John Fante, and has published several novels and a collection of short stories, as well as poetry. Here is an interview with Dan Fante in Lummox. Oops.
I read the book anyway and provided a nice relief from the more serious stuff I’ve been reading. Mooch is pulp fiction: entertaining, fast-paced, appalling. It tells the story of Bruno Dante, son of novelist Jonathan Dante. Bruno has seen hard times and now is struggling to stay sober. He manages to get a high-paying telemarketing job which he screws up because he falls (absolutely implausibly) in love with a co-worker who speaks in a cartoonish accent and gets him into trouble. If Bruno hadn’t been a struggling writer, I probably would have quit reading, but I was hooked on page 37:
“I came to an immediate decision: fuck my writing career. My head was clear for the first time in years. I could foresee my own future. Novelists and screenwriters like Jonathan Dante died broke in L.A., humiliated, compromised. Their balls and their talent sacrificed to a ridiculous Hollywood success fantasy. No one cared about words anymore. Literature was deader than a Seinfeld rerun.”
God, I hope not. Eventually, though, Dante sends off his story to seven (glad to see he believes in sim-subbing) “high-end men’s magazines.” So I kept reading to see what would happen.
All in all, it could have been worse.