Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Dream Life of Balso Snell by Nathanael West (1931)

Miss Lonely Heart and The Day of The Locust by Nathanael West (1903 to 1940-USA-died in auto accident) are among the very greatest of American novels.   His characters are grotesques, isolates, rejects from the world of the American dream.   He also wrote, in addition to ten Hollywood movie scripts, two other novels, both under 125 pages.   In my research most seem to say you should not bother with his other two novels unless you are interested in reading all his novels, under 600 pages. This is terrible advise, at least as far as The Dream Life of Bruno Snell goes.   

As in his two more famous novels, there is deep religious symbolism in this work, as much as in a writer he resembles in a strange way, Flannery O'Connor.   The plot line is totally bizarre.   Bruno Snell enters the actual Trojan horse through the horse's anus.   in the intestine and bowels of the horse he encounters great writers, Bruno is a writer, meets lots of strange people including a seven foot hunchback woman pregnant with a baby in her hunch back.  Much of the work is preoccupied with death and suicide.   This is as strange a work as you will find.   OK it is weird.  I loved it.  

First read Miss Lonely Heart (you are missing out big time if you don't read this, and very soon) then The Day of the Locust,   ignore the advise of those who say stop here, in fact ignore anything said by anyone who bad mouths Nathanael West in anyway!

Mel u

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