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The Day of the Locust (Penguin Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Jan 2006


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141023651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141023656
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 1999
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Nov. 1998
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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By RazorGrrl on 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L/A/Shelley on 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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By Ami on 24 May 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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. As if I was on the edge of my seat waiting for something to happen and then as it seemed it would... it ended.

Not to put a downer on the book, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it, just didn't live up to itself (if that makes sense).
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By TimB on 6 Dec. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
Numerous parts of the narrative are disturbing, but that is part of the appeal. It is an incredibly quick book to read, but the images and questions it raises stay with you long after.
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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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