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Mass Market Paperback The Day of the Locust Book

ISBN: 0451523482

ISBN13: 9780451523488

The Day of the Locust

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Admired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Dashiell Hammett, and hailed as one of the "Best 100 English-language novels" by Time magazine, The Day of the Locust continues to influence...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Did not get this book

Ordered this book, didn't get it and got something else pulled off the shelf instead - Now it is out of stock =(

Faye done away.

Locust does a great job of showing the ugly side of the shiny veneer of Hollywood. The book deals with lust, desire, hope, disappointment, failure, rage, and death. To avoid being misleading, I should say that the movie business is not the front and center story here. The interpersonal relationships between a woman and her father and her suitors is the main plotline. Hollywood acts as a backdrop. Faye is a failed actress who only gets work as an extra, and Homer and Todd are just two of the men who are drunk with desire for her. This alternates with The Sound and the Fury for my favorite book. I've read it 3 times, which is as much as I've read any book. ...Locust is a quick read and never boring. Check out the movie too.

Hollywood = Dante's Inferno ????

....To read Nathaniel West's description, it would seem so. Every character in this novel of 1930s Hollywood is a greedy scoundrel. Every character is out for him/herself. Everyone's a sinner, and it's absolutely delicious. I love novels with very eccentric, flamboyant characters. The kind of characters who perform on a dime. Faye, the main female character shakes, dances, gyrates, sings....for any audience, no audience etc.. Storywise, you never know what's real and what's make-believe....which is a metaphor for Hollywood itself. The plot is Tod Hackett, an illustrator from the Mid-West coming out to Hollywood to work in pictures. The characters he meets, and the variety of personality traits, ticks, neurosis, dysfunctions are astounding. This is a novel of fringe, downscale, periphery Hollywood. The losers behind the scenes. Well, here's to the losers, because they move the plot and this has to be one of the most page-turning classic novels I've ever read. All throughout the novel you get the sense something big is going to go down.....and the characters' own extreme traits drive this. I love it when a writer gets mileage, not from actual plot turns and twists, but solely from personality traits. The story feels like it's just moving along on it's own, as opposed to being heavily contrived. I thought this novel was extremely interesting, thought-provoking, and suspenseful, as you never really know if the characters and scenes are play-acted, or for real. The reader is really left guessing. Is a fight, a real fight, when the participants just laugh the whole thing off at the end? Do these fringe characters really have all these personality ticks? Or, are these just affectations, at the ready for their next audition? Is there a real apocalypse coming, or is it simply simulated apocalypse, just like everything else along the Hollywood landscape? You never really know, which is what makes this novel so deep and thought provoking. It can be anything the reader wants it to be. The hallmark of great storytelling/writing is the many interpretations a reader can bring to it. Either these strange characters are the most creative, inventive people on earth.......or they are the most pathetic, depending on if you really believe (make-believe?) half of what they get themselves involved in. Some of the most memorable personalities in all of literature.

A literary Molotov cocktail

"The Day of the Locust" is about the strange, disparate people that invariably get drawn to Los Angeles in the 1930's, a time when studios put out assembly-line low-budget movies and employed revolving crews of extras, writers, and various technicians. The novel seems influenced by Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio" in its portrayal of "grotesques," emotionally or behaviorally defective people on the fringe of society, but its tone is much more vibrant and frenetic; if "Winesburg, Ohio" is a petting zoo, "The Day of the Locust" is a three-ring circus. At the center of the action is an artist and scene designer named Tod Hackett. He observes southern California with a sort of concerned detachment; he sees it as a wasteland of incongruous, tacky architecture and rootless people who come here to die. His discontent is manifested in his extracurricular plan to paint a canvas called "The Burning of Los Angeles." Even though Tod may be considered the main character, he's the least interesting member of the cast; he's like the "straight man" in a comedy team. He's in love with an aspiring actress and occasional prostitute named Faye Greener who likes to use men. She has managed to hook a shy, lonely unemployed hotel bookkeeper named Homer Simpson (!) who moved to L.A. from Iowa for his health. Homer has compulsively fidgety hands and occasionally even exhibits the simplemindedness of his bald, mustard-colored cartoon namesake. Faye is also attracted to a lanky cowboy named Earle Shoop who works in a Sunset Boulevard saddlery store, does occasional movie work, and doesn't seem to know he's a caricature.There is a cavalcade of other colorful characters, including Faye's father Harry, an ex-vaudeville clown who is now peddling silver polish door-to-door; Abe Kusich, a drunken dwarf; Claude Estee, a successful screenwriter who has a rubber sculpture of dead horse in his swimming pool; Joan Schwartzen, a loud, lewd harridan, who is probably Phyllis Diller's progenitor; Miguel, Earle's chicken-tending Mexican friend; and last but not least, Adore Loomis, an obnoxious aspiring kid star.The novel focuses on the lives of these fringe characters rather than moviemaking, which allows West to demonstrate that he excels at writing unusual, difficult scenes -- a screening of a porn flick, a cockfight, a riot at a movie premiere. The inventiveness, energy, and attitude here cannot be overstated; never have I read a novel that delights so much in pathetic human oddity, in mixing its characters into a violent Molotov cocktail and observing the comical results with jubilation.

Belongs on the 100 best novels list

Now I know why Flannery O'Connor so admired West. His prose is crystal clear, his craft virtuoso. His characters, however ugly, are utterly compelling and tragic. There was simply no stopping them. They would hang on to their delusions even if it destroys them. And then there are the people with no hope whatsoever, existing just for surface pleasure and materialism. Tod, the 'artist', tries to help these people, and nearly goes mad with frustration. West's compassion for these people (cloaked by his biting sarcasm and wit) makes this book a great work of art. It, like O'Connor's "Wise Blood," are among the masterpieces of American fiction. Read it and be ennobled.

West's finest novel

I've read all of West's other novels - The Dream Life of Balso Snell, A Cool Million, Miss Lonelyhearts - and all three seemed to miss something that is hard for me to explain. A little two-dimensional, a little hollow. Neither the characters nor the novels themselves seemed to be totally fleshed out. But The Day of the Locust is different. And ultimately I think it is on this novel that West's reputation will either rise or fall.This book will really live with you long after you've read it. I can easily bring to mind that spectacular cockfight (a fine bit of descriptive writing), Faye's teasing, Harry Greener, the midget, the scene in the nightclub when the cross-dresser sings, and that final horrific scene when the riot breaks out in LA. You can skip West's other novels and you won't be very deprived, but The Day of the Locust is not to be missed.
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