Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust

Miss LonelyheartsMiss Lonelyhearts was a newspaper reporter, so named because he had been assigned to write the agony column, to answer the letters from Desperate, Sick-of-It-All, Disillusioned. A joke at first; but then he was caught up, terrifyingly, in a vision of suffering, and he sought a way out, turning first here, then there—Art, Sex, Religion. Shrike, the cynical editor, the friend and enemy, compulsively destroyed each of his friendâ€...

Details Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust

TitleMiss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust
Release DateJun 1st, 1969
PublisherNew Directions Publishing Corporation (NY)
GenreFiction, Classics, Literature, Novels

Reviews Miss Lonelyhearts / The Day of the Locust

  • Fabian
    Miss Lonelyhearts, a novella that made the "1001 Books You Must Read" list, is a type of companion piece to Salinger's maudlin, crude, symbolic works about humanity. It is about an advice columnist who thinks he is a demi god, who ignores the troubles of everyone around him to the point of satire, who makes fun of the people he should save. Think: a lazy, lost, heartless Frasier Crane. His co workers are assholes as well. The plot takes an unexpe...
  • Steve
    To be honest, I was expecting something lighter. Here was the hook: Miss Lonelyhearts, an advice columnist in the early 30’s, is really a man. Sounds like a role for Jimmy Stewart at his gosh-darned chirpiest, doesn’t it? But the first few pages put a different image in mind – it was Pottersville without benefit of George Bailey. The letters in to Miss Lonelyhearts were just so bleak. Of course, it was a time when deprivations were de rigue...
  • Tosh
    Do you know what's wrong with this New Direction edition of West's most famous two little novels? Nothing. It's a perfect book. And it's a work that never gets old. The ultimate Hollywood nove (Day of the...)l that is almost spiritual. West got it right away and very few could match his greatness or snickering. A snicker that becomes passionate.Miss Lonelyhearts is awesome beyond one's favorite mustard. It's a nasty little book that still stings....
  • Edward
    --The Day of the Locust--Miss Lonelyhearts
  • Amanda NEVER MANDY
    Unsettling, harsh, and wildly inappropriate mixed with a blandness that could put a reader to sleep in seconds. This book has weighed on my mind in a way others haven’t in a while. My finger hovered above the two and four stars button far too long due to my struggle with content versus writing style. CONTENT: I’m just floored by the amount of crude and offensive material this author covered in such a nonchalant way. Abrupt topic introductions...
  • Jimmy
    If one moral prevails throughout the two novels that Nathanael West has become famous for, it would probably be that, even in the dreariest of times, people can find salvation or refuge from suffering through art. At least this is what Miss Lonelyheart's boss, Mr. Shrike informs him of as a substitute for religion. In Shrike's own words he asks "Why don't you give them something new and hopeful? Tell them about art. Here, I'll dictate: Art Is a W...
  • Lucas
    Dear Miss Lonelyhearts - I am in such pain I dont know what to do sometimes I think I will kill myself my kidneys hurt so much. My husband thinks no woman can be a good catholic and not have children irregardless of the pain. I was married honorable for our church but I never knew what married life meant as I never was told about man and wife. My grandmother never told me and she was the only mother I had but made a big mistake by not telling me ...
  • Jennifer
    I re-read these two short novels in a fit of sentimentality. When I was a sophomore at USC, I took an American Literature class, ENGL 263. Taught by a man named Gustafson, this was my only venture into "properly" studying books written on this continent. During my undergraduate years, I really concentrated in stuffy, dead English writers. Every day, we'd dutifully appear for class, and he would show up a few minutes late, looking like he had just...
  • rachel
    I didn't "really like" reading this book. It is so very world-weary, its beauty melancholy and even mundane. Miss Lonelyhearts' eponymous character tries to beat the despair of reading people's problems for a living and...sort of, almost, succeeds. In The Day of the Locust, men and women flock to Hollywood seeking The Prize (be it a beautiful woman, fame, or simply an improved quality of life eating tropical fruits under palm trees); complication...
  • Josh
    West is a prophet of the 20th century American wasteland, with one crucial difference: whereas Isaiah's wheel within a wheel is evidence of god's presence and mystery, West's trembling metaphors sing only Absence, Absence. False signs in other words, like whoopee cushions that someone (God, we hope, or think we hope) has left under the various sofa-cushions of human existence. But what is the difference between a sign and a false sign? I wonder t...
  • gaby
    "Violence in America is idiomatic." Nathanael West (Nathan Weinstein)Reading West is to be struck, as in the face, again and again by his visceral sexual violence. It's frustrating but not surprising that the main literary legacy of West is a more generic brutality -- without acknowledgment that much of that violence is sexual in nature and theme. This shines brightest in Day of the Locust, where the very West-ian Homer Simpson (could it be a coi...
  • Bruce
    Like all black humor, these works are informed by a serious and intensely troubled view of man's existence -- specifically our contemporary existence where advertising tries to sell something -- a shaving lotion, a film, vitamins -- by molding our ideas of what we should be, physically, emotionally and spiritually. But Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust also contain considerable realism amidst their raucous and hilarious satire, and the ...
  • Jeanette
    So far I've only read Miss Lonelyhearts. What an odd little story. Sex and booze and a Christ fixation and a melancholy madness brought on by immersion in the woes of complete strangers. I'm not sure what the point is, except to say that if you set out to fool or poke fun at others, you may find that the joke's on you. I've satisfied my curiosity, anyway. I don't know that Nathanael West is the author for me. I'll have to try one more just to be ...
  • Jennifer
    I rebelled and struggled against reading these two stories, and had to force myself to press on nearly all the way through. In the end I found some redemption/value, but very little of the experience was anything I'd call enjoyable. These stories are populated, by bitter, disenfranchised men who fantasize about rape as an appropriate corrective to "uppity" women. They are certainly not the source of their own ugliness -- all are struggling in a D...
  • Sarah Etter
    i've always loved a black comedy. and this one always has the ability to make me want to burst out into cackles and cry for three days at the same time.whenever i meet someone who hasn't read this yet, i'm shocked. it seems like it should be required reading for life. some of this is hard to take - the plight of miss lonelyhearts and his conflicts with the human condition, misery and religion would be unbearable to read if he had a real name. mis...
  • John
    As West is considered a "name" writer, thought I'd try this one.Read Day of the Locust first, which turned out to be a good idea. Liked it a lot for its sense of time and place (1930's L. A.), as well as finding the characters interesting for the most part, although The Cowboy and The Mexican in the final chapters made the ending drag out. Between 3 and 4 stars.Miss Lonelyhearts, on the other hand, never really engaged me. He seemed a cold, selfi...
  • Eileen Ying
    I picked this book out years ago at The Book Thing in Baltimore because I thought the cover looked charming. I still see it all the time in indie bookstores. If you look at its Goodreads reviews, you'll see that they are overwhelmingly positive; Nathanael West definitely has a bit of a cult following. BUT if you look a little closer, you'll realize that most of these 4- and 5-star reviews are made by intellectual-looking white men. You know the t...
  • RandomAnthony
    I really enjoyed "The Day of the Locusts." Any book that features a drunk dwarf in the first ten pages is ok by me. His clean, realistic style, crossing into deep psychological insight, makes me wonder what else Mr. West would have written had he not bit the bullet so early."Miss Lonelyhearts" didn't do as much for me, I must admit. Maybe I should read it again. Anyway, add Mr. West to the list of "why isn't this guy more popular?" authors. Mr. W...
    According to the back cover: "Nathanael West died almost unknown in 1940" - fairly young in a car crash. "Miss Lonelyhearts" is about a newspaper columnist who gets emotionally sucked into the dilemmas of the people who write in to him. A novel of conscience, set in an often conscienceless profession. "The Day of the Locust" is a critique of Hollywood - later made into a Hollywood movie. I'm 'reviewing' his 4 novels here out of my usual alphabeti...
  • Kevin
    Locust: 1 star. Lonelyhearts: 2 stars.Locust: One of the rape-iest books I've ever read, as it features an assortment of male character preoccupied with a sex worker named Faye, who is as alluring to them as she is unattainable. The main male character, Tod, considers rape a viable option at multiple points in the book, begins to plan it, and actually seems to act on it, though he's unsuccessful. His lust is convincing, but not compelling. A lead...
  • Juan
    Miss Lonelyhearts is Dostoevskiana at its best. Also reminiscent of The Stranger and Hunger, both heirs to Dostoevsky's aimless, misanthropic but morally conflicted by misery, properly modern men of which the underground man, from Notes from Underground, is the true original. Great powerful little book.Day of the Locust is a classic California novel full of wonderful little surprises, not the least of which is a supremely repressed, awkward chara...
  • Will
    It's possible to write compelling fiction revolving around despicable characters in hopeless situations. Authors who do so successfully allegorize the morally bankrupt, unlikable world in the lives of their characters, with a healthy dose of humor and cynicism. Nabokov, most famously, has done it, Franzen has done it successfully, Conrad has, Faber has, Wells Tower has, and Shteyngart has made a career of making light of the genre. But there's a ...
  • Saxon
    Well, I have to say that I am sorely disappointed that I have to part with these two novellas. I feel like I am going through a bad breakup. Fitting? Perhaps. I have a professor/novelist friend from Denmark who considers books like lovers. If you are reading a book the first question he will ask you is, "So...was it a good lover? did it make you breakfast in the morning and rub your back or did it leave a note and take your money out of your wall...
  • Ryan Williams
    West sometimes gets lumped along with his contemporary John Steinbeck - two writers of the Great Depression. But West had the more original view of America, and expressed it with an acidic clarity. He saw, as few others could, that hysteria was the price of the American dream. When the crowd in The Day of the Locust turns violent, it's cathartic for West's entire oeuvre.An original voice that died too young.
  • John Pistelli
    Nathanael West's 1933 novella, Miss Lonelyhearts, has passionate defenders. Harold Bloom declares it his favorite modern novel; in his chapter on it in How to Read and Why, he notes that Flannery O'Connor's own two favorite modern novels, which she saw as akin to each other, were As I Lay Dying and Miss Lonelyhearts. And there is a blurb inside my New Directions edition from Stanley Edgar Hyman calling it "one of the three best American novels of...
  • Roena
    2-in-1. This book is two stories in one. The broken heart on the front of the book makes fits both stories perfectly. These stories won’t make you cry but they will make you question why you started reading the book. The books slowly drain all the joy and happiness out of you one page at a time. Like most readers I try to connect with the characters in someway but in these that leads you to question the society we live in. Most characters are n...
  • Beth Cato
    This is a book about horrible people being horrible to each other.These two novels (more like novellas by modern standards) are considered classics. Miss Lonelyhearts was made into multiple movies and even an opera; Day of the Locust was made into a movie and was later dubbed one of the best books of the 20th century. That's a sad statement about the century. In any case, the movie versions must have radically changed elements from the books, as ...
  • Louis
    Nathanael West was a master of tense humor, finding laughs even in the bleakest of settings. Both novels (more properly called novellas) in this set are perfect examples of his skill. These stories of a sad advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist and people on the gritty edge of Hollywood are rich with West's worldview of a chaotic world going to madness. If you enjoy well-placed metaphor, West will not disappoint. From the first page, where he speaks o...
  • Simon
    Miss Lonelyhearts – 4.5The Day of the Locust – 4.0
  • Nolan Phillips
    The greatest of all time.