The Day of the Locust

[I read The Day of the Locust in high school and remember really enjoying it; I’ve been meaning to reread it ever since.]

“A dark novel (1939) by the US writer Nathanael West (1903-1940). The work explores the seamy underside of Hollywood (where West himself had worked as a scriptwriter), and shows how it eats away at people’s better selves. At the end Homer, a harmless but unexciting accountant, knocks down a boy who attacks him, and is in turn overwhelmed by a group of people (like a swarm of locusts) who are waiting for the arrival of stars at a a premiere.

‘I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.’

Joel 2:25

John Schlesinger’s 1975 film of West’s book, with Donald Sutherland and Karen Black, was highly regarded.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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