L.A. Weekly is determining the best L.A. novel ever by holding a tournament featuring 32 of our favorites in head-to-head matchups, until there's only one novel standing. For further reading check out:
*Best L.A. Novel Ever: The Tournament Brackets
*Best L.A. Novel Ever: More Matchups
Writing about Charles Bukowski's Post Office in the first round of this tournament, I noted that pitting it against John Fante's Ask the Dust was somewhat unfair when taking into account that Bukowski's novel was heavily influenced by Fante's. (Bukowski even penned a foreword to Ask the Dust, writing at one point that "Fante was my god.") The same would appear to be true of Less Than Zero: though there isn't as direct a correlation, Bret Easton Ellis did go on to use the opening paragraph of Fante's seminal novel as the epigraph to his short story collection The Informers some ten years later. It thus comes as little surprise that his debut has a good deal in common with Fante's bittersweet masterwork....