Books »Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust

miss lonelyhearts day of the locust nathanael westOne word of advice, do not, I repeat, do not read Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust during a happy time in your life, right before you are about to get married, for instance, as I did. It is far too depressing to not seep into your brain and take hold. I had to put it down and start again later.

With that said, these two short novellas, which were championed by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are brilliantly, if bleakly written. The first tells the story of NYC advice columnist “Miss Lonelyhearts” who becomes distraught, self destructive, and destroyed under the weight of not only his own disillusionment, but the ugliness of the city's desperate people that ask him for advice.

Day of the Locust, which was made into an excellent film in 1975, is more satire and ridicule with a bit of black humor thrown in. Tod Hackett is a set designer, new to the vapid city of Hollywood, Homer Simpson (it seems Matt Groening was a fan as well) is a weak and timid man unfamiliar with the showbiz scene, Faye Greener is one of the millions of starlet hopefuls that came west to make their dreams come true.

Not to give too much away, but her dreams do not come true, no one's do. Rather, these sad and lonely people find themselves further and further removed from them. There are cock fights, ugly sex, riots, and a brutal death.

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Posted on December 18, 2006

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