Ali Kahrobai is the translator of the book published by Now. A few weeks ago, Mahi, another Tehran-based publisher, released a Persian rendition of the book by Farid Dabir-Moqaddam.
“The Day of the Locust” is a novel about Hollywood and its corrupting touch, about the American dream turned into a sun-drenched California nightmare.
Nathanael West’s Hollywood is not the glamorous “home of the stars” but a seedy world of little people, some hopeful, some despairing, all twisted by their own desires – from the ironically romantic artist narrator, to a macho movie cowboy, a middle-aged innocent from America’s heartland, and the hard-as-nails call girl would-be-star whom they all lust after.
An unforgettable portrayal of a world that mocks the real and rewards the sham, turns its back on love to plunge into empty sex, and breeds a savage violence that is its own undoing, this novel stands as a classic indictment of all that is most extravagant and uncontrolled in American life.
“The Day of the Locust” is, in the opinion of many, the best novel written about Hollywood. It dramatizes the false world and people on the fringes of the movie industry.
Never widely read during his lifetime, West attracted attention after World War II, at first in France, where a successful translation of “Miss Lonelyhearts” appeared in 1946. Publication in 1957 of “The Complete Works of Nathanael West” sparked a new interest in West’s work in the United States.
West’s life ultimately ended as tragically as his fictions. Recently married, and with better-paid script work coming in, West was happy and successful. Then, returning from a trip to Mexico with his wife Eileen, he crashed his car after ignoring a stop sign and killed them both. This was just one day after the death of his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald.