“Sometimes things just go south. They spiral down into the shitter and it all happens before you know it.”
— Dan Fante

Reading Dan Fante is a bit like stabbing yourself in the arm repeatedly with a ballpoint pen, each time a little harder, until you actually penetrate muscle. It isn’t like when you listen to the blues and then feel better. Fante drags you down, rubs your face in the shit and doesn’t hold out a hand to lift you back up when he’s done with you. So reading Fante is dangerous, because you never know what’s going to happen and you never feel better afterwards. You feel like Fante, like you’ve been stepped on, pissed on, puked on and had your inner child run through a pencil sharpener.

And then you laugh, uncontrollably, but it’s the laughter prisoners in solitary confinement may experience when on day 100 they begin to hear voices and hoard their shit and piss.

Corksucker (Cab Driver Stories form the L.A. Streets) is a nice-looking edition put out by Wrecking Ball Press in Hull, England.