tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > The Dream Life of Balso Snell / A Cool Million

The Dream Life of Balso Snell / A Cool Million by Nathanael West
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it was amazing
bookshelves: literature

I probably found out about Nathanael West & read his 4 short bks when I was in my late teens. What a discovery! I divide his novels into the absurd (these 2) & the 'realistic' ("Miss Lonelyhearts" & "The Day of the Locust") but the delineation is tenuous. All 4 novels are social criticism. "The Dream Life of Balso Snell" is from 1931 & is a slim 60 pages. All I remember of it is that the protagonist finds the Trojan Horse & enters it thru its asshole - finding graffiti along the way. This was my favorite, probably b/c it was the most absurd. "A Cool Million" is West's parody of Horatio Alger stories - you know the ones: the newspaper boy works hard & thru dedication & the reward system of capitalism becomes a successful millionaire businessman. West blows the well-deserved holes thru that one. The subtitle of "A Cool Million" is "The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin" & the hero pursues fame & fortune w/ Alger-like naivity, failing every step of the way & gradually losing body parts in the process. 113pp, 1934, set in the depression.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 1972 – Finished Reading
March 7, 2008 – Shelved
March 7, 2008 – Shelved as: literature

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