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Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust


Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Miss Lonelyhearts — compared by Flannery O'Connor to Faulkner's As I Lay Dying — is about a newspaper reporter assigned to write the agony column, but, caught up in a vision of suffering, he seeks a way out (through Art, Sex, Religion), only to be rebuffed at every turn by his cynical editor Shrike.

The Day of the Locust — considered by many to be the best novel ever written about Hollywood — is about Tod Hackett, who hopes for a career in set design only to discover the boredom and emptiness of Hollywood's inhabitants. In the end, only blood will serve. The day of the locust is at hand...

These two dark stories, and the most notable works of the short career of Nathanael West, remain stunningly powerful pieces of fiction more than 75 years after their original publication.


"A primer for Big Bad City disillusionment, unsparing in its portrayal of New York's debilitating entropy." The Village Voice

About the Author

In 1940, when an automobile accident prematurely claimed Nathanael West's life, he was a relatively obscure writer, the author of only four short novels. West's reputation has grown considerably since then and he is now considered one of the 20th century's major authors. Born in New York, West worked as the night manager of the Kenmore Hotel on East 23rd Street in Manhattan, as a contract scriptwriter for Columbia Pictures in Hollywood, and as a screenwriter for RKO Radio Picture.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives in Brooklyn and Maine.

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Chelsey, October 12, 2011 (view all comments by Chelsey)
This pair of fabulously dark, witty, and concise novellas is a perfect match. Each goes down like a short, strong cocktail with spiked with a perfect bite of bitters. "MIss Lonelyhearts" is swift, comical, almost loopy at times, yet with prose so tight you could bounce a dime off it. "Day of the Locust" prowls the fringes of Hollywood, through the many species of desperate wannabe clinging to the edges of the film industry. Two scenes in particular--one where the main character crosses a film lot through an anachronistic jumble of set pieces, the other the book's astonishing and terrifying final scene--will stick with me forever. The New Directions edition is well-packaged with a cool zine-like cover and an insightful intro by Jonathan Lethem. Highly recommended.
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Product Details

West, Nathanael
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Lethem, Jonathan
West, Nathaniel
Sanford, John
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
New Edition
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.2 x 0.5 in 0.435 lb

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Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust New Trade Paper
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Product details 208 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811218221 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A primer for Big Bad City disillusionment, unsparing in its portrayal of New York's debilitating entropy." The Village Voice
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