Nicole's Reviews > Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
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it was amazing
bookshelves: little-gems, re-reads

that was....not what I expected.

There is a section where Shrike effectively tortures Miss Lonelyhearts with narrative, telling story after story of other lives, possible lives, while Miss Lonelyhearts lies in bed suffering from an illness that may or may not be entirely spiritual.

Then you've got the letters to Miss Lonelyhearts, themselves also narratives of other lives, of suffering lives, though these are nothing like what Shrike puts together, the slick, generic productions he uses to torment and to distance himself from humanity, his dead pan.

So that's going on.

Then, there are these little moments within the writing itself at which I just marvelled. The fact that Miss Lonelyhearts has no name, and each step of the narrative reinforces the strangeness of this, his role not his identity:

When Miss Lonelyhearts quit work, he found that the weather had turned warm and that the air smelt as though it had been artificially heated. He decided to walk to Delehanty's speakeasy for a drink. In order to get there, it was necessary to cross a little park. He entered the park at the North Gate and swallowed mouthfuls of the heavy shade that curtained its arch. He walked into the shadow of a lamp-post that lay on the path like a spear. It pierced him like a spear.

What can you even say about writing like that?

There are others: the description of the battle against entropy, the attacks of the inanimate objects, small, brilliant little asides that had me continually wondering at this tiny little book.

Depite what goodreads tells you, I actually read this from a volume of four collected works of Nathanael West; I think I'll be coming back for the others.
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Reading Progress

July 2, 2014 – Started Reading
July 2, 2014 – Shelved
July 2, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
July 3, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 6, 2015 – Shelved as: little-gems
February 13, 2015 – Shelved as: re-reads

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