On Nathanael West

Paul Theroux at Literary Review:

It was at this point I discovered Nathanael West. Although all his books had been published in the 1930s, they seemed to anticipate the America that was throbbing all around me, with its violence and disappointments, its spiritual emptiness, its foolishness and its freaks.

I had come across Miss Lonelyhearts as a paperback, and then found the New Directions edition of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, and then, around 1960, an omnibus edition of his novels, which also included The Dream Life of Balso Snell and A Cool Million. The introduction to this edition was by the English writer and publisher Alan Ross. His note of special pleading (‘West’s slightness of reputation is not easy to understand’) resonated with my feeling of being marginal, like West, if not entirely overlooked.

more here.