The Day of the Locust

Recommended by Jonathan Evison, and 1 others. See all reviews

Ranked #46 in Hollywood

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... more

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Jonathan Evison To me this is the quintessential LA novel. It’s about the film industry in its heyday. What makes it Western is that it’s set in the West, and it’s all about this idea of possibility. It’s about all these people uprooting themselves and the Hollywood dream they were sold. This book is where the name Homer Simpson comes from: He’s an everyman character who moves out from Nebraska. It’s hilarious and macabre, and it’s so modern in its tone and cadence. Just the prose, the style, the observations are very modern for 1939. As a side note, I’m pretty sure Nathanael West was killed [aged 37] in a... (Source)

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