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Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
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Miss Lonelyhearts (original 1933; edition 2011)

by Nathanael West

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4742221,807 (3.47)51
Member:Moloch
Title:Miss Lonelyhearts
Authors:Nathanael West (Author)
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Tags:english, lingua inglese, ebook, narrativa, narrativa nordamericana

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Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (1933)

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English (21)  Italian (1)  All languages (22)
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Synopsis/blurb….

"Somehow or other I seem to have slipped in between all the 'schools,' " observed Nathanael West the year before his untimely death in 1940. "My books meet no needs except my own, their circulation is practically private and I'm lucky to be published." Yet today, West is widely recognized as a prophetic writer whose dark and comic vision of a society obsessed with mass-produced fantasies foretold much of what was to come in American life.

Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), which West envisioned as "a novel in the form of a comic strip," tells of an advice-to-the-lovelorn columnist who becomes tragically embroiled in the desperate lives of his readers. The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry.

"The work of Nathanael West, savagely, comically, tragically original, has come into its own," said novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg. "A new public [has] discovered in the writings of West a brilliant reflection of its own sense of chaos and helplessness in a world running more to madness than to reason."
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My take....

70-odd pages of prose which whilst fairly readable were only mildly entertaining.

Miss Lonelyhearts is a male agony columnist dealing with, or rather failing to deal with the problems brought to him by his readers. His cynical boss derides him and his ineffectual responses. Lonelyhearts seeks solace in drink and sex, involving himself more intimately in the problems of his readership as well as trying to seduce his boss’s wife. A temporary recourse to religion fails to provide a solution to anyone’s ills.

A bar fight, an unhappy engagement, sex with a cripple’s wife and a grappling encounter with the cripple concludes with a gun going off. We end.

I’ve read worse and will do again.

West appears to be a fairly political writer and apparently there are greater themes at play here.

According to Wikipedia, we have an Expressionist black comedy with the author sharing a sense of extreme disillusionment with Depression-era American society. (I get that bit.)

It continues…..The novel can be read as a condemnation of alienation and the colonization of social life by commodification, foreshadowing the stance of the Situationists and Guy Debord in particular…..etc, etc, etc.

Well I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

I much preferred West’s A Cool Million (The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin) which I read last year. Review here.
http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/nathanael-west-cool-million-dismantling.ht...

2 from 5

Owned copy, which is a 4-book omnibus edition, also containing The Day of the Locust and The Dream Life of Balso Snell.

A 1933 book and a contribution to Past Offences’ Crimes of the Century February meme. Other offerings are here. (https://pastoffences.wordpress.com/20...)

http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02... ( )
  col2910 | Feb 25, 2016 |
Hämmentävä kertomus miehestä, joka vastaa Miss Lonelyhearts-nimimerkillä lukijoiden kirjeisiin ja opastaa heitä muun muassa sydämen asioissa. Oma elämä ei ole aivan niin mallikelpoista kuin jaetut elämänohjeet. Kirjan tapahtumat olivat varsin toisistaan irrallisia ja sen vuoksi en ehkä suosittelisi tätä kenellekään. Itse en saanut tästä juuri mitään irti paitsi juurikin hämmennystä.
  Ainop | Dec 15, 2015 |
I'd read this book in my 20's and decided to try it again at age 40. While I may have gotten more out of it this time around, I suspect my reaction was the same as it was the first time. This is one bleak book. Worth reading, though. Or re-reading. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Jul 6, 2013 |
Breve nota sull'edizione kindle (pagata ben 0.89€): una porcheria. Le spaziature tra le lettere sono totalmente a caso, tutte le parole a fine riga sono spezzate (non sillabate però).

Miss Lonelyhearts, in realtà un uomo, cura una rubrica su un giornale a New York; è un punto di riferimento per tutte le donne vessate e maltrattate che le scrivono continuamente.
Miss Lonelyhearts però non ce la fa più a sentirsi raccontare di tutto il male intorno a sè, inoltre il suo ruolo è deriso dai colleghi di ufficio che non prendono sul serio come lei la gravità delle lettere.
Il romanzo ci dà all'inizio un assaggio di quello che Miss Lonelyhearts deve sopportare ogni giorno, poi segue i vari tentativi che il protagonista fa per allontanare e superare il problema: la fuga in campagna, la ricerca di una donna, l'alcol e la religione.
Ironicamente la situazione precipiterà quando Miss Lonelyhearts incontrerà l'unica donna non vessata, non maltrattata (che però crede di esserlo) e il suo vessato e maltrattato marito (ovvero l'unico uomo dotato di una qualche qualità positiva nel romanzo). ( )
  Saretta.L | Apr 10, 2013 |
i like the premise - that someone gets so overwhelmed by the tragedy in other's lives (that he courts knowledge of because of his work) that it starts to ruin his life. (this is very realistic to me as it mirrors my own life a year ago.) but the writing, the dialogue, the stereotyping, the other characters, the storytelling - very disappointing all around. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 3, 2013 |
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The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?-Do-you-need-advice?-Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard.
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Wildly funny, desperately sad, brutal and kind, furious and patient, there was no other like Nathanael West.' - Dorothy Parker 'In dark times, Miss Lonelyhearts shines the brightest light in the blackest places. For this reason West's novel has never felt more alive than today' - The Daily Beast 'A masterpiece...' - Jonathan Lethem. Day after day, 'Miss Lonelyhearts' sits in his office responding to letters from 'Broken-hearted, Sick-of-it-all, and Desperate', dispensing words of hope, inspiration, and other platitudes to get his readers through their tormented days. But it's all getting to be too much for Miss Lonelyhearts. Under the weight of his colleagues' mockery and the endless gloom of his correspondence, Miss Lonelyheart finds himself crippled with cynicism and dysfunction. Set in New York City at the height of the Great Depression, Miss Lonelyhearts stands as one of the most intelligent and hilarious works of the 20th Century. Laced with dark humour, irony, and razor-sharp insight, this novel is as hauntingly relevant today as it was nearly a hundred years ago.… (more)

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