Shot of Short #55: 1647 Ocean Front Walk by Dan Fante

Title: 1647 Ocean Front Walk by Dan Fante
Date Read: 04 November 2009
Available Online?: YES (as one of the stories posted by Harper Perennial on their website Fifty-Two Stories, which promises a new (or classic) short story from their collection, posted every week throughout 2009).
Briefly: Depressed at a lengthy bout of ‘writer’s block’, LA writer Bruno works to forget (and survive), by driving a taxicab. Already struggling with the mechanical problems of an aged cab, Bruno’s day is about to get a whole lot worse (or is it?), when he picks up Mrs. Randolph and her daughter Sydney.
Afterthoughts: Cue the victory music! Crack out the party poppers! This story score full marks and for good reason. It’s absolutely fantastic. Gritty, raw and incredibly engaging, this story hits the ground bleeding and stays that way until the very end when a shocking climax puts the cherry on top of a very tasty ‘cake’. This is the first time I’ve read anything from Dan Fante (son of the great John Fante) and it certainly won’t be the last. I love him already! Is that recommendation enough to go and read this story? Then please go away and do so! You seriously won’t regret it.
Notable Quote: I’d diagnosed myself as too fucked-up to write, and made the decision to give it up completely except for the poetry I jotted down while in my cab. Everything else that I’d put on paper—each new attempt at a novel or short story—was a lie. False. Unredeemable pigshit. Hacking twelve to fifteen hours a day was all that was keeping me alive. That and Shenley’s Reserve whiskey.

Rating: ★★★★★

*Story read as part of my 100 Shots of Short reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Love it! I don’t live far from where he is driving and the thought of being a cab driver in LA is horrifying, traffic galore and a culture where everyone has there own car makes it a fairly unpromising occupation.

    • Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

      I can imagine it’s not a first choice profession for many people Kim, and Fante’s story only reinforces that notion. It is a superb story though isn’t it?