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The Day of the Locust [Kindle Edition]

Nathanael West
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Day of the Locust is a 1939 novel by American author Nathanael West, set in Hollywood, California during the Great Depression, its overarching themes deal with the alienation and desperation of a broad group of odd individuals who exist at the fringes of the Hollywood movie industry.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Day of the Locust #73 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time magazine included the novel in its list of 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005, and noted critic Harold Bloom included it in his list of canonical works in the book The Western Canon.

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Product Description

About the Author

Nathanael West (1903-1940) - original name Nathan Weinstein (until 1926) American writer who died in a car crash at thirty-seven. Nathanael West published four novels.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Green Light (9 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00501UR0W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #55,086 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This gem of a book speaks volumes about Los Angeles 11 April 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this wonderfully crafted mini-novel, Nathanael West captures the cultural essence of boomtown Los Angeles during its tumultuous adolescence. The dark, coarse, seamy side of the "California dream" is vividly portrayed here. The plot is not really the point in this period piece; the truth is in the characters and their always unfortunate interactions. For those who seek to understand the social history of southern California, this novel might be more useful than a half-dozen academic treatises.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The flip-side of the Golden Age of Hollywood 9 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nathanael West hits it right on the head. The subject matter of his most famous novel is all the more remarkable in light of the fact that it was written in the 1930's. What we take for granted as the sordid and seedy stories of Hollywood today are actually nothing new, but it takes a shrewd observer like West to show us how even the periphery of the glamour capitol can go down in flames. Perhaps the greatest single symbol is the hero's painting, titled "The Burning of Los Angeles". Think about that when you conjur images of Watts, Rodney King, Mark Fuhrman, and O.J. Simpson. I picked up this book when I saw it listed on the controversial "100 Greatest English-Language Novels of the 20th Century". Until then, I knew it only by reputation but it was well worth investigating. Nathanael West is the real godfather of Hollywood. A shame he is not around to comment on it today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Hoka
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's little more to say, because I agree with your earlier reviewers, except for the one who says the book ends so suddenly. Yes, but by then the author has stated his case and succinctly - it's a very short novel. It is not so much a story as a snapshot of Hollywood at its most decadent. Anyone who has read "Hollywood Babylon" will know that the 1920s and 1930s comprised the most decadent and sordid era of Hollywood - drugs, alcoholism, rape.For me there was nothing unexpected in this book, but I thought it dealt well with the Hollywood of that era, with a man [Tod] who is a talented artist, but who becomes embroiled in the really messy side of the film capital in the shape of the woman Faye. Some of the other characters, such as the Mexican, could better have been described by Hemingway and I felt the whole business of cock fighting reminded me of Hemingway's obsession with bull fighting - but not quite. However, unlike the lengthy novels of Hemingway [For Whom The Bell Tolls in particular], it is an easy read and it is a page-turner. A must for all serious readers of fiction who like to explore all aspects of humanity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plus ca Change... 16 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A brutal dismemberment of the myth of Hollywood Glamour. Wonderfully written & thoroughly evocative of the period we all think we know so intimately as the 'Golden Age of the Movies' No sign of the stars here, West's characters are one mis-step away from the gutter...

Vicious & venal men, rapacious women, & the poor, lost saps who, as the cynical narrator puts it, have come to Hollywood to die.. this version of the American dream is really the first circle of hell, in which the narrator, an artist who has come to Hollywood as a designer (everyone here is connected to, part of or consumed by 'The Movies' in one way or another) is painting a huge canvas of Los Angeles burning like Pandemonium, while the crowd of first-night movie fans turns into a ravening mob, hungry for blood...

A dark tragedy of a book, not for everyone, but if you enjoy exploding myths, dark humour & the exposure of the darkness beneath the surface of the world, you will enjoy this...And it's proof that, in Holly-Weird as in much else, "the more thing change, the more they stay the same.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable due to terrible formatting 24 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I Don't know if it's ju
st my kindle but
Like others I have a majo
r problem with the formatt
ing of this kindle edition. I
f you find this revie
w hard to read the
n don't bother buying thi
s product.
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By Anna C
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just reviewed the film of the book directed by John Schesinger. I loved both but I'd recommend that anyone drawn into the nightmare vision of the movie reads the book as well. It's an easy fast read but fills in much that film can't depict, such as the sequence where Tod searches for would-be starlet Faye Greener throughout the studio backlots, and the madness of the system becomes apparent as he fights his way through the disparate sets and costumed freaks of a society that has no history or centre. It's all jumbled up and devours everyone like a huge remorseless, relentless juggernaut. Nathanael West's ability to write visually is the best.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the classic I was hoping for 10 May 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was quite surprised by some of the reviews of this book.It is often mentioned as a classic,but having just finished it,I would have to disagree.It's not a bad book by any means,but it can't seem to make up its mind what it wants to be.It could have done with being longer and more in depth as far as the characters are concerned and a lot more descriptive in terms of the actual interactive scenes.Some of the prose here is confused.I think he was striving for a different style,but it ends up being too abstract,too..unreal.I just couldn't imagine people(no matter how strange),acting the way they did, in the scenes he places them in,it was all a bit to fragmented.It's worth a read,but you're better off with Fitzgerald or Hemingway for this kind of thing.Shame, it could have been a classic.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars and what next?
reflects the period it was written in. Is short, to the point.
Published 6 months ago by barrie hesketh
2.0 out of 5 stars Found this book to be very dull. The characters just didn't grab my...
Found this book to be very dull. The characters just didn't grab my attention.
Published 8 months ago by serenity
3.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood in a harsh light
There aren't many sympathetic characters in this book. Even the protagonist is a bit of a bastard, if I remember rightly. Read more
Published 8 months ago by H M Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely Addictive
This book is strangely addictive but I could never put my finger on why.

I felt the entire book was building to something that never really came. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ami
4.0 out of 5 stars The American Dream
About 50 years since I last read this book and it's still as good as ever. Nothing is real, not the film sets and certainly not Faye. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Marvidbrewer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for a reason
Both horrifying and compulsive, this is a fantastic journey. I came across this novel by chance and it feels criminal not to have had it recommended before. Read more
Published 22 months ago by TimB
4.0 out of 5 stars rather surreal
There are some well described scenes and events, slightly surreal in the way some details are emphasised. I found it a slightly "edgy" book.
Published 24 months ago by Michael L
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
Utterly boring non plot. Gave up. What story there is is disjointed and frankly weird. Could not force myself to read more than a third of it. Maybe it improves. Read more
Published on 24 Dec. 2012 by Sue Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars day of the locust
Read on the back of the Great Gatsby. I enjoyed it and it is of its time.
A good example of American literature. Worth a look!
Published on 10 July 2012 by dumpletondavies
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad kindle version
I agree with a comment from 9 months ago ( so obviously nothing has been done to rectify the situation) about the unreadable nature of the text. Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by Philippa Bambach
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