This is a savage novel with the power to hurt
Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West (1903 to 1940-USA- he died in an automobile accident) is one of the very best 20st century American novels to expose directly the dark side of the American dream. Harold Bloom includes it along with Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and parts of Gravity's Rainbow as the only examples of the sublime in the American novel in the 20st century. He also points out the very strong influence on The Crying of Lot 49 of Miss Lonelyhearts. As soon as I read this, I saw it was true.
Parts of Miss Lonelyhearts are terrible, terrible in an old fashion way meaning terrifyingly deep and overwhelmingly sad. It is about the preterite of New York City in the early 1930s.
Miss. Lonelyhearts is really a man who writes an advise column for a New York City newspaper. The letters he receives are desperate and heartbreaking. They send him into a downward cycle of depression. He tries to escape this, we never learn his actual name, with three affairs, including one with the wife of a letter writer, and his deep belief in Jesus. (If you are seeking help with a school assignment to avoid reading the book, I suggest you check the Wikipedia article.) He ends up being invited to a dinner by one of his letter writers, a crippled man. His wife tries to seduce him and Miss Lonelyheart ends up beating. She tells her husband that he tried to rape her.
There are deep religious themes in this book, Harold Bloom (for whose opinion I have a lot of respect) says it is really a story about being Jewish in American ( West's real name was Nathan von Wallenstein Weinstein. The ending is very shocking and will keep me thinking for a long time.
I urge everyone to read this novel. The letters will flabbergast you with their deep sadness and their beauty. The character of Miss Lonelyhearts is just brilliant. This is a savage novel with the power to hurt its readers when they see their own lives in its pages.
West was also a Hollywood screen writer and wrote three novels, none considered on a par with this one. His second best work is considered to be The Day of the Locusts. Ten or so of his screen plays were made into movies but I am not familiar with any of them.
Please share your experience with West with us. This novel in the the public domain and can be downloaded for free. You can also download it for $8.95 from Amazon.
|Miss Lonelyhearts sounds heartbreaking,|
I love it already-Carmilla-