Review: Nathanael West – the Day of the Locust

the Day of the Locust
Nathanael West
Tod loves Faye, a woman of questionable talents and questionable motives. In a romance gone wrong, Tod fights over her, but never seems to progress on anything – except perhaps his wonderful painting that describes everything that is wrong with American society.
This is another American literature novel for me. It starts out quite slowly, but interestingly, but does not build to the expected climax. Of the whole book, I would have said that the ending left me most underwhelmed – but that that was the point, because the themes of the book are unfulfilled sexual gratification and unfulfilled dreams.
This novels quite a gritty one, and I wouldn’t have said I really enjoyed it. It’s going to be a fun one to write about in the exam though, because there is just so much there to comment on. The narrator really made the story for me with his forknowledge and snarky remarks about the characters. I really didn’t feel any sympathy for the characters, even poor Homer.
Apparently this novel has multiple references to pop culture – or that pop culture references it. Homer is as of “The Simpsons” in humour, and additionally apparently there is a similar scene in Seinfeld. See, I had to even google that to spell it correctly!
Overwhelmingly this novel dreams of blood and violence. Tod often fantasises about raping Faye, and sometimes you even feel as if that would be justified, she’s so annoying and teasing. I actually really liked the Mexican with the chicken, and felt that in an odd way, of course it was he that got Faye in the end.
Not the finest example of American literature I’ve read so far, but not the worst. I wouldn’t personally recommend reading it, but if it was on your bookshelf and you felt like some violence and unfulfilment go for it!

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