Book Beat April Reading Group Selection

April’s Reading Group selections are two darkly humorous masterpieces by Nathaniel West: Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust. West was an American novelist, screenwriter, and satirist who chronicled the darker side of American life during the Depression.  His novel, Miss Lonelyhearts, is a pitch-black tale of a disillusioned newspaper columnist tasked with writing a lonelyhearts advice column.  The Day of the Locust centers around the lowly figures that populate the fringes of Hollywood.

“This is the lurid world of Nathanael West, as unremitting as it is unforgettable. Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust are his masterful expressions of stunted dreams. The novels unfold between the two American centers of opportunity and, West suggests, illusion: Miss Lonelyhearts in a dreary, relentless New York City; The Day of the Locust in a monstrously garish and overgrown Los Angeles. Both are populated by hacks and has-beens, cynics and dupes, failures and oddballs lurking at the urban margins.” –Ingrid Norton, review from “Open Spaces”

Written during West’s stay in Hollywood as B-movie screenwriter, The Day of the Locust stands as one of the greatest novels written about Hollywood and was ranked #73  by the Modern Library 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.

The Reading Group will meet Wed., April 27th at 7pm in the Goldfish Teahouse (117 W. 4th St., in downtown Royal Oak).  Copies of the reading group selection are discounted 15% at the Book Beat.  All are welcome!


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