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Fante Bukowski Three: A Perfect Failure

Fante Bukowski Three: A Perfect Failure Fante Bukowski Three: A Perfect Failure Fante Bukowski Three: A Perfect Failure

Fante Bukowski Three: A Perfect Failure back

Noah Van Sciver


Page 45 Review by Jodie Paterson

"Bret Easton Ellis wrote 'Less Than Zero' when he was 21!
"Of course, he was hated by 22…
"I was somehow able to jump right to being hated.
"I win that round."

Yes, Fante, because that's the real achievement to take away here <sigh>...

We're back in Ohio to catch up with the future literary legend himself, as he sees it at least, Fante Bukowski. He's being interviewed by The Dispatch - the oldest paper in town, as he boasts to his father in a ranting email - as a "notable voice" about the upcoming Zine Fest.

The Fest itself is an "ocean of amateurs" (Fante's words, not mine), with glorious cameos from Noah Van Sciver himself, selling "...a graphic novel. It's the comic book of the future!" titled 'Sad Lincoln' (THE HYPO - A MELANCHOLIC YOUNG LINCOLN), and a completely haggard and unflattering portrayal of John (KING CAT) Porcellino all burnt-out with a thousand yard stare peering straight out of the panel at us readers.

Fante, meanwhile, does make a grand total of 25 dollars at the Fest, but maybe if there hadn't been quite so much glitter involved in 'Love Songs From Extinction' he might have been able to snag a few more sales! But the Zine Fest is just the beginning, once again, for Fante. He's after the big bucks and for once even has a lead on a paying gig! But is the world finally ready for the greatest book of all time? If he actually gets around to writing it that is...

Accompanying Fante as he drunkenly fumbles his way through life is the sunny, albeit slightly unhinged Norma, an inadvertently hilarious performance artist with her own struggles in the so-called creative industries. Though completely away with the fairies most of the time, she is at least a little more grounded than Fante, knowing that to survive in the real world you need to have an actual paying job on the side and not just <ahem> drink whisky in a prostitute's back yard. She is a thoroughly delightful contrast to our bitter, downtrodden protagonist; I actually couldn't get enough of her. I would love to see to have her own book, but maybe that's because as a former art student she was an all too familiar character for me!

In this third and final volume, we also learn how Kelly Perkins became Fante Bukowski. The journey from angsty teen Emo, desperately trying to carry on the legacy of a musical movement that even his dad knew was over fifteen years ago, through to his very brief corporate days of interning at his father's law firm before 'recreating' himself. But even knowing his self-inflicted shambolic back story of family wealth-ridden faux woe doesn't make you one iota more sympathetic towards the delusional, self-titled literary genius. I know you're probably wondering whether Noah is going to let Fante have an entirely undeserved happy ending, but let's just say he gets an appropriate one...

Every part of this book is dripping with Fante's personality. From the less than enthusiastic pull quotes on the back, to the "Emerging Genius" award from a certain Firewater Press (see FANTE BUKOWSKI BOOK 1) emblazoned on the cover. Which itself is even a gag, being a take on the cover of David Foster Wallace's 'Infinite Jest'! No doubt Fante considers it one of the greatest modern literary classics - outside of the treasured work of Charles Bukowski, of course - though I have a sneaking suspicion that he may never have quite got around to tackling the full 1104-page tome. He's probably skimmed it and got the gist so he can wax lyrically about it, for a true literary genius can capture the essence of a great novel with merely a few quick glances. Now if only he could write one as fast...