Soon Cooper's "Full of life" in Italian

il Centro
Cultura & Società
11 february 2001

by Paolo Di Vincenzo

book cover "One day in the summer of 1994 Joyce Fante escorted me through the meanders of their vast estate in Point Dume, Malibu.(...) After welcoming me at the door, Joyce led me through the dining room and kitchen, where her huge gray cat was keeping guard, up to a dark, dust-smelling closet. She wanted to show me something. (...) Four high metal shelves piled against the wall, each of them with four deep filing drawers. (...) At that point I was reminded of Bukowski's Preface to the new edition of "Ask the dust" (...) At that moment, Bukowski writes, I felt like someone who finds gold in the city dump sites. And here I was, before a gold mine".

Stephen Cooper - today probably the greatest expert of the production of the Italian American writer originary of Abruzzo - introduces in this way the stories collected under "the Big Hunger". Cooper authored a large biography, presently published only in the States, with the meaningful title of : "Full of life" (which is also the title of John Fante's most successful novel, which was made into a film and also had an Oscar nomination).

An interesting biography which Marcos y Marcos are soon to publish in Italian too. Amid all its merits, this biography also sheds light on some unknown episodes. Such as the fact that John Fante (who was in Italy in the 1950's and again in 1960) went to Torricella Peligna to see the place which his father Nicola (Nick) left in 1901. But he found "a poor village, elderly ladies wrapped in black shawls and hostile youths (...) After seeing the place where his father was born, the stone houses, the dusty streets, he gave up. Turned his car round and drove down the mountain ".