The Day of the Locust

Nathanael West Alfred Kazin

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The Day of the Locust

The Day of the Locust The Day of the Locust is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch about the American dream turned into a sun drenched California nightmare Nathanael West s Hollywood is not the glamorous home

  • Title: The Day of the Locust
  • Author: Nathanael West Alfred Kazin
  • ISBN: 9780451523488
  • Page: 120
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Day of the Locust is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch, about the American dream turned into a sun drenched California nightmare Nathanael West s Hollywood is not the glamorous home of the stars but a seedy world of little people, some hopeful, some despairing, all twisted by their by their own desires from the ironically romantic artist narrator tThe Day of the Locust is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch, about the American dream turned into a sun drenched California nightmare Nathanael West s Hollywood is not the glamorous home of the stars but a seedy world of little people, some hopeful, some despairing, all twisted by their by their own desires from the ironically romantic artist narrator to a macho movie cowboy, a middle aged innocent from America s heartland, and the hard as nails call girl would be star whom they all lust after An unforgettable portrayal of a world that mocks the real and rewards the sham, turns its back on love to plunge into empty sex, and breeds a savage violence that is its own undoing, this novel stands as a classic indictment of all that is most extravagant and uncontrolled in American life.

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    One thought on “The Day of the Locust

    1. Glenn Russell on said:

      My vote for the Great American Novel - The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West. Why? West's short novel speaks to what every single American has to deal with - the falsehood of Hollywood, the ultimate con, the complete fake, the billion dollar illusion, shoved in everybody's face, like it or not.As Nathaniel West captured so brilliantly, once anything or anyone is in Hollywood, there is no escape from being converted into artificiality - even a wooden chest of drawers is painted to look like unf [...]

    2. Jessica on said:

      As some of you know, I came dangerously close to packing it in and moving to Los Angeles this winter. I'm from California originally, but the other California, up the Five a ways and then off to the left. Where I grew up people speak of LA in the same disgusted, dismissive, and morbidly fascinated tones they used to talk about Michael Jackson before he died. The Bay Area is majorly creeped-out by the weirdo plastic-surgery-disaster-of-dubious-morals that is Los Angeles. We hate it for its car cu [...]

    3. Richard Derus on said:

      Rating: 3* of five The Publisher Says: The Day of the Locust is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch, about the American dream turned into a sun-drenched California nightmare. Nathaniel West's Hollywood is not the glamorous "home of the stars" but a seedy world of little people, some hopeful, some desparing, all twisted by their by their own desires—from the ironically romantic artist narrator to a macho movie cowboy, a middle-aged innocent from America's heartland, and the hard-as [...]

    4. Paquita Maria Sanchez on said:

      I am recommending this book to you because you should read it. It is set in 2012 America, as you can see from this quote:Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and went to the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, war. This daily diet made sophisticates of them. The sun is a joke. Oranges can’ [...]

    5. BlackOxford on said:

      The DeplorablesThere is a theory that at some time in the remote past the North American continental plates shifted and everything that was loose fell into California. Day of the Locust confirms this hypothesis.The cast of the novel is a ménage of 1930's drifters and grifters attracted by the movies, or the climate or the chance for a little unconventional action. Mostly they are hapless obsessives who, once there, become lost in either an underworld of vice or some form of otherworldly fundame [...]

    6. Vit Babenco on said:

      The Day of the Locust is a very good book about a very bad taste…“She posed, quivering and balanced, on the doorstep and looked down at the two men in the patio. She was smiling, a subtle half-smile uncontaminated by thought. She looked just born, everything moist and fresh, volatile and perfumed.”And bad taste, aggravated with mass stupidity, becomes monstrous taste…“Their boredom becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every [...]

    7. Paul Bryant on said:

      We were watching 42nd Street from the tough year of 1933 the other night and my daughter was more than somewhat surprised at the risqué nature of some of the zingers in the first 15 minutes, such as:Abner, who is bankrolling the new show: I’d like to do something for you…if you’d do something for me. Dorothy Brock, the leading lady: Why, Mr Dillon, I’d be very glad to…Stage hand : You remember Ann Lowell?Stage manager: Not Anytime Annie? Who could forget her? She only said no once, wh [...]

    8. StevenGodin on said:

      A dark and foreboding look at 1930's Los Angeles where screen writer Tod Hackett falls for aspiring young actress Fay Greener, but this is a long way from being a love story and has an atmosphere filled with dread, sexual tension and desperate lives, where everything felt more like a surreal nightmare than a Hollywood dream, and although on the short side, West captures this era perfectly, where the glitz and glamour of the movie industry becomes an obsession for those with high hopes of hitting [...]

    9. Brad on said:

      Book 130. The last book in my 2011 Reading ChallengeJust before I started reading The Day of the Locust, I read something that compared Nathanael West favourably to Hemingway and Fitzgerald, suggesting that his proper place was amongst the literary elite of his day. I kept a watchful eye open for anything that hinted at a quality on par with Papa or Scott, but once the book started to take shape, I found myself trying, instead, to find a comparison that could accurately describe how it felt to [...]

    10. Kemper on said:

      A grim little tale of a pack of losers leading sad and desperate lives in L.A. in the 1930's. Tod is an artist with a job at one of the movie studios, and he's in lust with Faye, a wannabe actress with no talent and a sick father, who has made it clear that she has no interest in Tod, but that doesn't stop her from teasing him. Homer Simpson (Bear in mind that this was written before Matt Groening was even born.) is a yokel in from Iowa who came to California for his health who apparently has so [...]

    11. Bettie☯ on said:

      bbc/programmes/b06p56zjDescription: Tod is a young scene designer in 1930s Hollywood trying to earn an honest buck and still maintain his artistic integrity. He falls in love with Faye, an aspiring actress and gets sucked into the toxic periphery of Hollywood. A caustic satire on the flipside of the 1930s dream factory.

    12. Tfitoby on said:

      It's both well written and enjoyable. I'd never heard of this book until it appeared on my recommendations shelf and I've been trying to figure out why, especially as I then found two copies on the shelf at work. Not to mention how very impressive it was.I guess there's only so much room for American literature from the thirties to have lasting worldwide appeal through to 2012. It was never on any syllabus I ever read that's for sure. Perhaps it should be. Depression era Hollywood certainly seem [...]

    13. Darwin8u on said:

      This is where the world endsThis is where the world endsThis is where the world endsIn a poisoned meringue of L.A.'s winter.This book has amazing characters, incredible scenes, and breaks my heart with every page. It set the scene for every David Lynch movie grotesque and the soundtrack for every Pixies song your head can bend itself around. Also, the best cock fight scene in all of literature.

    14. Laura Leaney on said:

      I re-read this for a recent book club and found myself appreciating it much more than I did back in college. Since the book didn't change, I'd have to say that perhaps the wisdom of more years has deepened my understanding of the complexity and nuance regarding absurdity in the human character. I once thought the book was dry and overly cynical. No longer. In a city full of strangeness, the people inhabiting West's Hollywood novel seem sharp and current. On the back cover of my ancient copy, the [...]

    15. Pamela on said:

      About a year ago, I purchased Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust as a Kindle twofer. I read Miss Lonelyhearts a few months back, and finally got around to reading the longer novel. Many people love The Day of the Locust, while an equally large group does not. I'm in the latter group.When it comes to certain novels, I always wonder if people love it for the sake of saying they love it. There's a certain cachet that comes with tossing out references to slightly-obscure yet classic novels. [...]

    16. Sara Zovko on said:

      Nešto je trulo u tvornici snova, mašineriji koja guta ljude i tjera ih da izgube sebe.Sjaj Hollywooda lažan je, a kroz taj sjaj provlače se različite nakaze kao stvorene za vječnu igru, stvorene da izgube sve.

    17. Irene on said:

      I had a hard time deciding to finish the book after the first mention of Tod Hackett's thoughts about the courage to rape a teenager but I forget. You're not supposed to like the characters in this story. Tod is the protagonist, the straight man in this black comedy. Tod is self-aware and slick but still a naive outsider, in many ways. Like the lost inhabitants in Los Angeles, he is not that different compared to his midwest foil, Homer Simpson. The highlights of this novel are in the parade of [...]

    18. Realini on said:

      The Day of The Locust has a dead horse in a Hollywood pool, a cock fight, a Mexican, a cowboy and plenty of other strange things, people and happenings. I loved the book.Why The Day of The Locust I wondered: an explanation found online (where else?) is that the locust refers to Tod, the main character.I've also read that : ".e fierce critique of Hollywood, and the mentality of the masses, depicts an America that is both sick with vanity, while also harboring a malignant sense of perversity" I di [...]

    19. Malcolm Logan on said:

      Nathaniel West's examination of the vain, desperate, self-deluded hangers-on at the fringes of Hollywood is perhaps more pertinent today than it was seventy years ago if for no other reason than that these pathetic archetypes seem to be even more among us today, no longer mere aberrations, as they were in West's day. You have Homer Simpson (no, not that Homer Simpson) a weak, cowardly, deeply depressed man searching for a hint of meaning in his life; Abe Kusich, a nasty, smart-aleck of a dwarf, [...]

    20. Emily May on said:

      Depressing, crushing realization that the American dream isn't all it's cracked up to be, and that Hollywood glitz and glamour is just going to screw you up sooner or later.This is the Golden Age of Hollywood, full of beautiful actresses, movies, hopes and passion. Tod Hackett gets caught up in this world when he finds himself in an LA studio, working as a set designer. As well as Tod, there's a whole bunch of unfortunate characters pulled into this spotlighted charade, most notably - Faye (a wa [...]

    21. Aaron on said:

      Far different than anything I could imagine, but brilliant nonetheless. Rather than a 'hollywood story', we get Hollywood as Babylon. It's apocalyptic, surreal, lurching from one grotesque scene to another; every thought of sex tainted by rape, every cheap thrill one breath away from violence. Strangely I'm reminded a little of JG Ballard's books of urban decay, like Concrete Island and High Rise. Dark, cynical, bitter, and horrifying, the book gives us a heavy caricature of this city I live in, [...]

    22. Ldparadise on said:

      If Sunset Boulevard had a bastard child with Tom Waits' Blue Valentine and it went to Hollywood failed and died alone in a seedy hotel room from falling asleep while smoking a cigarette would be this book.

    23. Chris Gordon on said:

      In a nutshell, The Day of the Locust is The Great Gatsby meets 1930s Hollywood (as opposed to being set in 1920s jazz-era New York), as both novels encompass the feeling of depravity and depression that was common in American novels of this time period.I can sum up both the Great Gatsby and Day of the Locust as follows: our protagonist is the "every-man" wallflower that the reader follows as he explores a sector of life foreign to that of his own. He witnesses the dead/dying hopes of the people [...]

    24. Alex on said:

      This almost reminded me of Shirley Jackson - not in its tone or theme, but in its oddness. Like, here's this West guy just off doing his weird thing and I don't even know whether it's funny or tragic. It might be because I just finished Sun Also Rises, but the whole book seemed sortof like a parody of that. Parody might not be the right word. A small-scale version? A diorama? With cockfighting instead of bullfighting. Faye Greener is like a smaller, more tawdry Brett.

    25. lookingforabura on said:

      "Only those who still have hope can benefit from tears. When they finish, they feel better. But to those without hope, whose anguish is basic and permanent, no good comes from crying. Nothing changes for them. They usually know this, but still can’t help crying." West has incredible writing that perfectly describes hopelessness and depression. It's sad but real. The short chapters and sentence structures made it easier to read than I thought.

    26. Stephanie on said:

      *LOTS OF SPOILERS*I am conflicted about this novel - hence, three stars. I almost gave it four though. It is very well written.Here we have a novel about Hollywood - NOT Los Angeles. I am a native Angelino and have lived here my entire life. It's an odd relationship we natives have with HollywoodI'm talking about Hollywood the Concept, not Hollywood the Actual Place. The thing about Hollywood is, only people from elsewhere are interested in it. Indeed, it was people from elsewhere who created it [...]

    27. Clelia on said:

      I recently re-read this to mine for good quotes because I'm writing a research paper for class about Clara Bow's last two movies from 1932 and 1933, the period in Hollywood history this is set in. There is probably a more elegant way to construct that sentence, but I don't care. I'm too tired and still finals-ridden. But "The Day of the Locust" is a relentlessly grim, grotesque, absurd novel from one of the best writers of the early 20th century and you should read it. Full stop. (although "Miss [...]

    28. Mark on said:

      Wayyyyy ahead of its time. The cult of personality. The addiction to celebrity. The antagonism by some toward the addiction to celebrity. Hollywood as cesspool. Drag queens. Drug abuse. Stunning character portraits. A peculiar presentation. (Mostly) clear, direct language. Hubert Selby-like by way of Hemingway. All in 1939.

    29. Eric on said:

      Whimsical and witty it may be, The Day of the Locust is ultimately too insubstantial to really care about. There's a flatness to both the characters and the prose that makes them easy to forget, and the plot, a satiric wink at 30s melodrama, feels strained.

    30. Kaya Tokmakçıoğlu on said:

      Nathanael West kanımca Büyük Buhran'ı yansıtmada edebî olarak Fitzgerald'dan çok daha güçlü. Hollywood'un California'daki bir grup yabancılaşmış "aydın"ın üzerindeki etkilerini verirken karamizahın kendine has bir örneğini sergiliyor. Yer yer Yeşilçam melodramlarını andıran sahneler (Faye ile Tod Hackett arasındaki ilişki, Hackett'ın kâbusa dönen yaşamı vd.) romanın gücünü azaltsa da Amerikan edebiyatının nitelikli örneklerinden "Çekirgenin Günü.

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