Quotes from The Road to Los Angeles

John Fante ·  176 pages

Rating: (4.5K votes)

“IT'S MORNING, TIME to get up, so get up, Arturo, and look for a job. Get out there and look for what you'll never find. You're a thief and you're a crab-killer and a lover of women in clothes closets. You'll never find a job!
Every morning I got up feeling like that. Now I've got to find a job, damn it to hell. I ate breakfast, put a book under my arm, pencils in my pocket, and started out. Down the stairs I went, down the street, sometimes hot and sometimes cold, sometimes foggy and sometimes clear. It never mattered, with a book under my arm, looking for a job.
What job, Arturo? Ho ho! A job for you? Think of what you are, my boy! A crab-killer. A thief. You look at naked women in clothes closets. And you expect to get a job! How funny! But there he goes, the idiot, with a big book. Where the devil are you going, Arturo? Why do you go up this street and not that? Why go east - why not go west? Answer me, you thief! Who'll give you a job, you swine - who? But there's a park across town, Arturo. It's called Banning Park. There are a lot of beautiful eucalyptus trees in it, and green lawns. What a place to read! Go there, Arturo. Read Nietzsche. Read Schopenhauer. Get into the company of the mighty. A job? fooey! Go sit under a eucalyptus tree reading a book looking for a job. ”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“Dear Woman Who Gave Me Life:

The callous vexations and perturbations of this night have subsequently resolved
themselves to a state which precipitates me, Arturo Bandini, into a
brobdingnagian and gargantuan decision. I inform you of this in no uncertain
terms. Ergo, I now leave you and your ever charming daughter (my beloved sister
Mona) and seek the fabulous usufructs of my incipient career in profound
solitude. Which is to say, tonight I depart for the metropolis to the east — our
own Los Angeles, the city of angels. I entrust you to the benign generosity of your brother, Frank Scarpi, who is, as the phrase has it, a good family man
(sic!). I am penniless but I urge you in no uncertain terms to cease your
cerebral anxiety about my destiny, for truly it lies in the palm of the immortal gods. I have made the lamentable discovery over a period of years that living
with you and Mona is deleterious to the high and magnanimous purpose of Art, and I repeat to you in no uncertain terms that I am an artist, a creator beyond question. And, per se, the fumbling fulminations of cerebration and intellect find little fruition in the debauched, distorted hegemony that we poor mortals, for lack of a better and more concise terminology, call home. In no uncertain
terms I give you my love and blessing, and I swear to my sincerity, when I say
in no uncertain terms that I not only forgive you for what has ruefully
transpired this night, but for all other nights. Ergo, I assume in no uncertain terms that you will reciprocate in kindred fashion. May I say in conclusion that I have much to thank you for, O woman who breathed the breath of life into my
brain of destiny? Aye, it is, it is.


Arturo Gabriel Bandini.

Suitcase in hand, I walked down to the depot. There was a ten-minute wait for
the midnight train for Los Angeles. I sat down and began to think about the new novel.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“She was a hunchback with a sweet smile. She smiled sweetly at anything; she couldn't help it; the trees, me, the grass, anything. The basket pulled her down, dragging her toward the ground. She was such a tiny woman, with a hurt face, as if slapped forever. She wore a funny old hat, an absurd hat, a maddening hat, a hat to make me cry, a hat with faded red berries on the brim. And there she was, smiling at everything, struggling across the carpet with a heavy basket containing Lord knew what, wearing a plumed hat with red berries.

I got up. It was so mysterious. There I was, like magic, standing up, my two feet on the ground, my eyes drenched.

I said, "Let me help."

She smiled again and gave me the basket. We began to walk. She led the way. Beyond the trees it was stifling. And she smiled. It was so sweet it nearly tore my head off. She talked, she told me things I never remembered. It didn't matter. In a« dream she held me, in a dream I followed under the blinding sun. For blocks we went forward. I hoped it would never end. Always she talked in a low voice made of human music. What words! What she said! I remembered nothing. I was only happy. But in my heart I was dying. It should have been so. We stepped from so many curbs, I wondered why she did not sit upon one and hold my head while I drifted away. It was the chance that never came again.

That old woman with the bent back! Old woman, I feel so joyfully your pain. Ask me a favor, you old woman you! Anything. To die is easy. Make it that. To cry is easy, lift your skirt and let me cry and let my tears wash your feet to let you know I know what life has been for you, because my back is bent too, but my heart is whole, my tears are delicious, my love is yours, to give you joy where God has failed. To die is so easy and you may have my life if you wish it, you old woman, you hurt me so, you did, I will do anything for you, to die for you, the blood of my eighteen years flowing in the gutters of Wilmington and down to the sea for you, for you that you might find such joy as is now mine and stand erect without the horror of that twist.

I left the old woman at her door.

The trees shimmered. The clouds laughed. The blue sky took me up. Where am I? Is this Wilmington, California? Haven't I been here before? A melody moved my feet. The air soared with Arturo in it, puffing him in and out and making him something and nothing. My heart laughed and laughed. Goodbye to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and all of you, you fools, I am much greater than all of you! Through my veins ran music of blood. Would it last? It could not last. I must hurry. But where? And I ran toward home. Now I am home. I left the book in the park. To hell with it. No more books for me. I kissed my mother. I clung to her passionately. On my knees I fell at her feet to kiss her feet and cling to her ankles until it must have hurt her and amazed her that it was I.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“I told him, "The writing instinct has always lain dormant in me. Now it is in the process of metamorphosis. The era of transition has passed. I am on the threshold of expression."
He said, "Balls.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“I tell you I always tip. It's a matter of principle with me. I'm like Hemingway. I always do it second-nature.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“Come on! Who wants to fight me?”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“The cricket was no more, but the power of love had found its way, and I was again myself and no longer a cricket, I was Arturo Bandini, and the elm tree yonder was Miss Hopkins, and I got to my knees and put my arms around the tree, kissing it for love everlasting, tearing the bark with my teeth and spitting it on the lawn.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“I wasn't smart, but I always passed. Here was one: Arithmetic 70; History 80; Geography 70; Spelling 80; Religion 99; English 97. Never any trouble with religion or English for Arturo Bandini. And here was one of Mona's: Arithmetic 96; History 95; Geography 97; Spelling 94; Religion 90; English 90. She could beat me at other things, but never at English or religion. Ho! Very amusing, this. A great piece of anecdote for the biographers of Arturo Bandini. God's worst enemy making higher marks in religion than God's best friend, and both in the same family. A great irony. What a biography that would be! Ah Lord, to be alive and read it!”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“The celestial hypothesis is sheer propaganda formulated by the haves to delude the havenots.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“¿Y de qué le sirve a un hombre ganar el mundo entero si pierde su alma?”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“Religion is the opium of the people.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“It is the persistent delusion of an hoodwinked mankind.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“The intelligent man makes certain reservations as to the choice of his listeners.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“My mother said, "Arturo, stop that. Your sister's tired."

"Oh Holy Ghost, Oh Holy inflated triple ego, get us out of the depression. Elect Roosevelt. Keep us on the gold standard. Take France off, but for Christ's sake keep us on!"

"Arturo, stop that"

"Oh Jehovah, in your infinite mutability see if you can't scrape up some coin for the Bandini family."

My mother said, "Shame, Arturo. Shame."

I got up on the divan and yelled, "I reject the hypothesis of God! Down with the decadence of a fraudulent Christianity! Religion is the opium of the people! All that we are or ever hope to be we owe to the devil and his bootleg apples!"

My mother came after me with the broom.”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

“Religion is the opium of the people!”
― John Fante, quote from The Road to Los Angeles

About the author

John Fante
Born place: in Boulder, Colorado, The United States
Born date April 8, 1909
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