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Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)

by Nathanael West

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6403128,287 (3.4)67
Praised by great writers from Flannery O'Conner to Jonathan Lethem,Miss Lonelyhearts is an American classic. A newspaper reporter assigned to write the agony column in the depths of the Great Depression seeks respite from the poor souls who send in their sad letters, only to be further tormented by his viciously cynical editor, Shrike. This single volume ofMiss Lonelyhearts features its original Alvin Lustig jacket design, as well as a new introduction by Harold Bloom, who calls it "my favorite work of modern American fiction."… (more)
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English (30)  Italian (1)  All languages (31)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
An impressively black-hearted comedy. Like Scoop meets Catch-22, but at just 100 pages it feels rather flimsy by my usual standards. ( )
  alexrichman | Nov 9, 2021 |
Started strong and it's studded with vivid and sometimes twisted imagery but the wheels sort of come off toward the end. ( )
  Popple_Vuh | Oct 24, 2021 |
There is a lot more wrong with Miss Lonelyhearts than feeling the natural distress that anyone would feel over the dire circumstances of the people who write him seeking his advice, and Nathanael West depicts him and his cohorts as living in a sort of cartoonish, lunatic frenzy. Miss Lonelyhearts' religious crisis, too, is inexplicable and deranged and his actions unhinged. I hesitate, as I did with Grahame Greene's The End of the Affair (another book whose characters suffer bizarre Christian angst--maybe that's just not my thing?), to pan a classic, but am at a total loss about why this book is highly regarded. Reading Harold Bloom's remarkably unconvincing and convoluted introduction did not help, so I guess I'll just chalk it up to another case of different strokes for different folks. Next! ( )
  CaitlinMcC | Jul 11, 2021 |
Dark, disturbing, and generally unsettling. ( )
  HeyMimi | Dec 28, 2020 |
Written and published in the early 1930s, Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West is a novella that is meant to be a black comedy set in New York City. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this funny at all. Although times have changed, I doubt whether I would ever found jokes about raping women funny. This particular section felt more like the author was lashing out at women who were more “literary” than him and/or more successful than him.

Most of the book was depressing and felt like I was reading about someone’s nightmare. The main character is an advice columnist who is the “Miss Lonelyhearts” for his newspaper. His contempt for the people who write to him made me very uncomfortable. Basically this is a character who is a failure, he isn’t good enough at writing, relationships, or religion. He appears to dislike most men and despise all women and gay men, when in fact, he actually is jealous of most everyone who is more successful at living than he is. “Suicide is an option” is a theme that runs through the book.

Reading of other people problems and misery must be emotionally draining, but I just couldn’t warm up to his character or have any sympathy for him. Reading about hard-drinking, misogynistic, homophobic characters that spew verbal and sometimes physical abuse wore me out and Miss Lonelyhearts felt more like a 300 page novel than the 80 page novella that it is. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Aug 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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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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This entry is for Miss Lonelyhearts alone. Do not combine with edition of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust
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Praised by great writers from Flannery O'Conner to Jonathan Lethem,Miss Lonelyhearts is an American classic. A newspaper reporter assigned to write the agony column in the depths of the Great Depression seeks respite from the poor souls who send in their sad letters, only to be further tormented by his viciously cynical editor, Shrike. This single volume ofMiss Lonelyhearts features its original Alvin Lustig jacket design, as well as a new introduction by Harold Bloom, who calls it "my favorite work of modern American fiction."

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I'm tired of violence / on women's bodies used as / fodder for men's angst (PeanutsToSpace)

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