Nathanael West

Nathanael West was an American author and screenwriter known for his darkly satirical novels. His most famous works include 'Miss Lonelyhearts' (1933) and 'The Day of the Locust' (1939), which offer a critical view of the American dream and explore themes of disillusionment and despair. West's writing style is characterized by its incisive social commentary and its use of surreal and grotesque elements. He died in a car accident in 1940 at the age of 37.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Day of the Locust

    "The Day of the Locust" is a novel set in 1930s Hollywood, portraying the dark side of the American dream through the lives of its desperate characters. The protagonist, a young artist from the East Coast, finds himself disillusioned by the superficiality and decay of Hollywood society, which is filled with failed actors, charlatans, and lost souls. The narrative culminates in a violent riot, symbolizing the destructive power of frustrated dreams and the harsh reality of the American dream.

    The 354th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Miss Lonelyhearts

    This novel revolves around an advice columnist, who writes under the pseudonym "Miss Lonelyhearts", for a New York newspaper during the Great Depression. As he reads and responds to the desperate letters from the city's distressed and downtrodden, he becomes increasingly disillusioned and depressed, struggling with his own faith, identity, and the bleakness of the human condition. The protagonist's personal life also spirals out of control, entangling him in a series of complicated romantic relationships and leading to a tragic conclusion.

    The 658th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Complete Works of Nathanael West

    This collection features the complete works of a renowned American author, known for his dark humor and social criticism. The book includes four novels and various other writings that depict the disillusionment and despair of the Great Depression era. His stories often revolve around aspiring artists and Hollywood dreamers, exploring themes of fame, illusion, and the American Dream. The author's unique style blends satire and tragedy, creating a distinct voice in 20th-century American literature.

    The 4151st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. A Cool Million

    The book satirizes the American Dream through the misadventures of its protagonist, a young man who leaves his rural home to seek fortune and success in the big city. Despite his unwavering optimism and adherence to traditional values, he faces a series of increasingly absurd and unfortunate events that strip him of his possessions, dignity, and illusions. The narrative unfolds as a darkly comedic critique of the socio-economic landscape of the time, exposing the harsh realities of capitalism and the myth of equal opportunity.

    The 7168th Greatest Book of All Time