After reading the classic tale of Arturo Bandini's struggle against the world in "Ask the Dust," I continued to buy Fante novel after Fante novel hoping to find that bellicose charm and straight forward prose that made me laugh out loud. However, 1933 was a Bad Year, Full of Life and Dreams of Bunker Hill did't quite make the cuts. As I read these novels I felt Fante somehow wasn't up to the task of telling the tale all the way through. There wasn't that Bandiniesque immediacy, the unique voice frought with passion and toughness. Well, the first novella in this two novella collection, "My Dog Stupid", has that Ask the Dust magic. Bandini By the Tail. Its Bandini against big dogs, sons in laws, uptight Hollywood lawyers and thankless children. But it isn't without it's heart-warming qualities that shows Fante has mellowed with age like a fine port without losing any of his potency. Always good for a laugh, a smile, a "Hurrah", Fante holds a special place in the American canon. I once said to my wife Graham Greene can write and plot circles around Fante, but if what Emerson said is true that "character is higher than intellect", then no wonder Fante is the guy you want to polish off a bottle with.