Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust
"Somehow or other I seem to have slipped in between all the 'schools, '" observed Nathanael West the year before his untimely death in 1940. "My books meet no needs except my own, their circulation is practically private and I'm lucky to be published." Yet today, West is widely recognized as a prophetic writer whose dark and comic vision of a society obsessed with mass-produced fantasies foretold much of what was to come in American life. Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), which West envisioned as "a novel in the form of a comic strip, " tells of an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist who becomes tragically embroiled in the desperate lives of his readers. The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry.
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It's very difficulte to handle. Well, I read this book because of my english class. Its shows great reality of hollywood, but at some point its very hard to image what the author saying about artificiality and viloance in Hollywood made me stop and think how we, as a socitey spoil our nation. At the age of 17th, it was very hard for me to read and understand about the Dream of Hollywood. Still, it has awsome ideas and the way author protrai the reality was good. I really enjoy and yes also struggled lot but thanks to my teacher who helped me to understand and think about it.!
The two short novels in this book were originally published in the '30s so the action takes presumably takes place in the '20s. Nathanael West was a brilliant writer way ahead of his time.
The Day of the Locust may well be the best novel ever written about Hollywood. In those days many great writers worked for the new motion picture industries in Hollywood. The novel is about people who have come to Hollywood chasing their dreams. To survive in the tawdry real world they have to exploit their own and others dreams. They are always acting and pretending to suffer, even when they are really suffering. For example, while Harry Greener the old vaudeville clown tries to peddle his silverware polish by pretending to be ill he has a heart attack. Although the heart attack is real, he continues to "act" sick while he almost dies. Everyone's behavior is affected by the presence of an audience.
The theme underlying both of these novels, and more explicitly in Miss Lonelyhearts is the question of loneliness and suffering. Why do so many people suffer and why can't the comfort each other?