Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts, published in 1933, is Nathanael West’s second novel. It is an Expressionist black comedy set in New York City during the Great Depression.

In the story, Miss Lonelyhearts is an unnamed male newspaper columnist writing an advice column which the newspaper staff considers a joke. As Miss Lonelyhearts reads letters from desperate New Yorkers, he feels terribly burdened and falls into a cycle of deep depression, accompanied by heavy drinking and occasional bar fights.

Excerpt

Although the deadline was less than a quarter of an hour away, he was still working on his leader. He had gone as far as: “Life is worth while, for it is full of dreams and peace, gentleness and ecstasy, and faith that burns like a clear white flame on a grim dark altar.” But he found it impossible to continue. The letters were no longer funny. He could not go on finding the same joke funny thirty times a day for months on end. And on most days he received more than thirty letters, all of them alike, stamped from the dough of suffering with a heart-shaped cookie knife.

 

I’m bored so I think I’ll read it.

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