Books: Truly Monstrous

THE DAY OF THE LOCUST — Nathanael West—Random House ($2).

In the 25 years Hollywood has been waiting, no novelist has yet written a good book about it. Few serious novelists have even tried. A harder try than most is The Day of the Locust, by a 35-year-old Manhattan-born novelist who became a screen writer three years ago, after writing a talented satire called Miss Lonelyhearts.

A tale of Hollywood's lunatic fringe, The Day of the Locust regards its characters as the human equivalent of Hollywood's architecture: "It is hard to laugh at the need for beauty and romance, no matter how...

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