Iris Barry (review date 29 September 1940)
SOURCE: Barry, Iris. “The Raw Juice of Life.” New York Herald Tribune Books (29 September 1940): 2.
[In the following positive review, Barry praises Fante's portrayal of childhood and family life in Dago Red.]
There was a great deal of pleasure and excitement in meeting the Bandini family when they first introduced themselves in Mr. John Fante's Wait Until Spring, Bandini a couple of years or so ago. They are a vociferous bunch who wring the juice out of life instead of whiting it to come to them in hygienic cartons. Father is a bricklayer, a violent and passionate creature but not in actuality as passionate as Mother who—for all her gentleness and profoundly religious faith—is a tornado when roused. By now we have got to know the whole family intimately. They are in a sense, the antithesis of the Day family but they are just as characteristically American. It is fun to hear more of their doings in this new group of short stories [Dago Red].
The best tale is “One of Us,” which most delicately and movingly describes the funeral of a small child from the point of view of another child about the same age. This boy is fascinated by the fact that the father of his dead comrade does not weep as every other one of the large Italian-American family does with abandon. The effect that his curiosity has on the bereaved father is beautifully indicated.
(The entire section is 519 words.)