Short Dog: Cab Driver Stories from the L.A. Streets

Dan Fante. Black Sparrow, $15.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-57423-249-3
This shaggy, gritty collection from Fante (1944–2015) follows the travails of his alter-ego cab driver, Bruno Dante, who has appeared in such works as Chump Change. Fante add juice and color to the episodes by drawing, as Willy Vlautin notes in an introduction, from his own experiences driving a cab in Los Angeles. Bruno’s cab is a “rattling Chevy”; politicians are “rectumless bureaucrats”; his wild friend Libby is “an alumnus of the Keith Richards school of beauty.” There are echoes of Burroughs and Kerouac in the sordid exploits, which include dealing with a voracious python, the title character of the story “Princess”; losing a cushy daily fare because of interference by a hotel doorman Bruno calls “Wifebeater Bob”; and waking up in a movie theater next to a trans woman after a Mad Dog 20/20–fueled blackout. Hard drinking figures prominently, both as the cause of Bruno’s messy personal life and as the fuel for his creative energy as a writer. Fante was also a playwright, and the longest piece, as well as the least successful, is a one-act two-hander between Fante and a slick aspiring actor he calls “Thebobby.” Fante’s raunchy, dynamic voice occasionally soars in this mixed bag of outrageous episodes. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/11/2021
Release date: 07/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-57423-250-9
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