This is an unsigned but numbered limited edition of John Fante's The Road To Los Angeles, one of four books by Fante that chronicles the life of his fictional alter-ego Arturo Bandini. Originally written in 1936, The Road to Los Angeles was published in 1985 by Black Sparrow Press at the suggestion of Charles Bukowski. Black Sparrow released editions of a number of Fante's books, including the highly influential Ask The Dust.
This edition of The Road to Los Angeles is especially curious, as it was released about a year and a half after Fante's death in May 1983. The colophon claims to have been published in traditional Black Sparrow limitations, with 26 signed and lettered copies. Reportedly, these pages were signed very close to Fante's death, and all 26 lettered copies were not actually realized. This makes a signed and lettered copy exceptionally rare, and this edition of 150 numbered copies the next best thing.
I picked this up at PBA Gallery's "Beats/Counterculture" auction last month. It was my first purchase from an auction house - exciting stuff! They'll be having a second session in January that I will surely be watching.
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride