The Dream Life of Balso Snell

The Dream Life of Balso Snell In this Dada inspired work the first novel of the author of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust the eponymous anti hero stumbles across the Trojan Horse and climbs inside His journey ta

In this 1931 Dada inspired work, the first novel of the author of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, the eponymous anti hero stumbles across the Trojan Horse and climbs inside His journey takes him through a mental jungle, offering an unforgettable look at the dark side of the American dream.

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The Dream Life of Balso Snell

  1. Born Nathanael von Wallenstein Weinstein to prosperous Jewish parents from the first West set about creating his own legend, and anglicising his name was part of that process At Brown University in New York, he befriended writer and humourist S J Perelman who later married his sister , and started writing and drawing cartoons As his cousin Nathan Wallenstein also attended Brown, West took to borrowing his work and presenting it as his own He almost didn t graduate at all, on account of failing a crucial course in modern drama West indulged in a little dramatics of his own and, in tearful contrition, convinced a gullible professor to upgrade his marks.After spending a couple of years in Paris, where he wrote his first novel, The Dream Life of Balso Snell, he returned to New York, where he managed badly by all accounts a small hotel, the Sutton, owned by his family As well as providing free board for struggling friends like Dashiell Hammett, the job also gave West ample opportunity to observe the strange collection of misfits and drifters who congregated in the hotel s drugstore Some of these would appear in West s novel Miss Lonelyhearts.West spent the rest of his days in Hollywood, writing B movie screenplays for small studios and immersing himself in the unglamorous underworld of Tinseltown, with its dope dealers, extras, gangsters, whores and has beens All would end up in West s final masterpiece, The Day of the Locust.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.

897 Reply to “The Dream Life of Balso Snell”

  1. Warning this is a review of a sophomoric book you re unlikely to read It also contains a hint of insult about some readers.I once kept a stack of recycled printouts at university, for keeping notes on the back On turning a printout over, I discovered a short, really hilarious paragraph spewed out one night, probably by a bored engineer with nothing better to do, about his old dog, somewhere in a gothic south, and the lump it developed on its back For some reason I remember that passage better th [...]

  2. The entitled man s Alice in Wonderland, the illusions that strips away all pretense and leaves our author with nothing but scat and entitlement Funny, crazy, offensive I would never have read it had it not been included with Miss Lonelyhearts in a collection I bought A fascinating little gem.

  3. intelligent, innovative, surreal, obsessive, short, unsatisfying work of an american in paris in 1920s tale within a tale theme reminded me of robert irwin, though i like his arab settings better but you need to be in the right mood for that, which i m not sure i ever am.

  4. Totally awesome piece of weird magical realism fiction At least those are the genres I think it falls under Under appreciated novel by West.

  5. This is a greatly entertaining, snide, petulant, hilarious and rather tossed off little surrealist jig It contains some great writing and great depravity I am thinking specifically of one character s first person account of why it was absolutely imperative to the preservation of his sanity that he murder a certain idiot dishwasher of his acquaintance The physical descriptions of this idiot s neck do clearly justify murder But what I love most about the book is its disgust it with writing itself [...]

  6. That title From the moment you hear it, you cannot forget it In a first year university course on contemporary American writing, one of the works we studied was West s last novel, The Day of the Locust The edition I bought of that work came with Balso Snell, and though I never got around to reading it then, the title remained lodged in memory Sorting out my library the other week most of my books have been stored in boxes since university, some years ago now I discovered those books from that co [...]

  7. Nathanael West is known best for The Day of the Locust, and then probably Miss Lonelyhearts He only wrote four novels before his untimely death by head on auto accident in 1940, none of them likely to keep your back door open on a gusty day This one, his debut, is the smallest by far, clocking in at a sub novella length of 59 pages Still, it doesn t feel like a short story, just a short What makes Miss Lonelyhearts and Day of the Locust so interesting especially in light of his years of work as [...]

  8. O Anus Mirabilis Woah Weird, even by West s standards While I wish he didn t feel the need to spell it out, this novel is a rag tag assortment of different voices of urgency and rapture voices of writers who cry out in vanity to be listened to I have little luck finding a defining theme to the novel other than lackadaisically applying other West themes to it ones that certainly show their faces here and there such as hedonism versus traditional morality and the vanity of creative minds versus t [...]

  9. Closer in spirit and structure to the proto Surrealism of De Chirico and his brother, Alberto Savinio his Psyche is a strange half brother to Balso Snell than to the principled chaos of dAdA the blurb at the top of this page likens it to dAdA for some reason Also reminded me a great deal of Luis Bunuel made me want to watch The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie back to back It s 62 pages, funny, and maybe not a world beater, but still a pretty good way to pass the tim [...]

  10. West s prose seduces me to the hightest degree, but I can t help think about his untimely death and the possibilities of what he could have went on to produce This short piece, to me, someone who greatly enjoys bizarre forms of music, film, poetry, television and so on, resonates and gives joy to my life I feel caught in a mind in love with the strangeness of life, the strangeness of creation and love and lust and beauty and comedy Yes, this is a funny book, but funny in the way that PFFR create [...]

  11. At 50 pages, West s early, surreal parody of literary genres is exactly the right length I laughed, I was impressed, and just as I started to lose patience with it, it was over.

  12. Bizarre yet engaging Nihilistic for sure, but And when dying, will you be able to say, I turn down an empty glass, having drunk to the full, lived to the full Is it not madness to deny life

  13. Hysterical, vicious An elaborate series of very cruel jokes about the pointless futility of writing and of art generally There s nothing really by way of story, just a lot of peculiar asides and a pretty fabulous Dostoevsky impression West is one of the better comic writers I think I ever read, laugh out loud funny Keep.

  14. Ermmm I m sure there were a ton of allusions in here that I just didn t get What I was able to get, though, was complete nonsense and absurdity Some of it was entertaining, and some not It wasn t Terrible, but I was also glad it was a short story.

  15. Balso Snell takes a journey of weirdness, stories and pain INSIDE of the Trojan Horse Balso is a Poet, and encounters other writers and storytellers searching for an audience Another wild and wacky cynical satire from West

  16. Tedious, highly referential, and distractingly experimental It felt like reading young Beckett with less sparks There are enjoyable tidbits but they re consumed and swallowed up by the format and the author s infatuation with proving to the reader that he is well read I had just finished Miss Lonelyhearts and wanted to read West I d advise similar readers to look elsewhere to whet their whistles.

  17. I ve made some pretty good progress with my reading boundaries , so to speak It took me a while to warm up to existentialist absurdist literature but, alas, I did it I ve been truly enjoying Camus works, and intend to delve into the other writes as well But surrealism may be where I have to draw the line I don t know, I just felt like that was a complete waste of my time I love Nathanael West, but this one is really experimental and I wouldn t recommend it.

  18. West is a master satirist Balso Snell is an exploration of the concept of the novel, and even fiction in general It takes place within the Trojan horse a symbol for the beginnings of literature Funny, funny stuff West draws readers in with sorrowful musings, then slaps them in the face by reminding them again and again this is nothing but a book, you silly thing.

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