RARA-AVIS: Re: Influences: Nathanael West

From: Ed Lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 11 Jun 2002

FWIW, a novel and writer mentioned in recent posts, A Feast of Snakes by Harry Crews, has ties to West's Day of the Locust. Critics have pointed out that Crews' ending in A Feast echoes the one West used in Locust.

Ed Lynskey

> I am currently rereading the works of Nathanael West, and
> it occurred to me that his bleak view of the human
> condition (which, in his case, means *all humans*) is very
> much in line with what we call "noir". A novel like A Cool
> Million could easily be rewritten as a tight fifties
> paperback by changing the tongue-in-cheek narrators voice
> into the voice of a dude who actually believes in what he's
> doing, even if he doesn't know what he's doing. The Day of
> the Locust wouldn't need any such stylistic changes: it is
> a perfect cold dish of dark stuff.

> So I propose that we add West to the list of noir
> precursors and practitioners. When we go down that way, we
> end up collecting a lot of the greatest American writers,
> starting with Twain and including Faulkner and Hemingway -
> and now West.
> Next is Nelson Algren, whose work is staring at me from the
> library.
> Best regards,
> MrT


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