Thursday, February 2, 2017

Miss Lonelyhearts


Flannery O'Connor said that Miss Lonelyhearts and As I Lay Dying were her two favorite modern novels.


I finally got around to reading Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's first novel, and I am glad I did. But reading it kept bringing to mind Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts (and sometimes made me wish I was reading that short novel instead). I fear that I will forget Wise Blood before too long. Miss Lonelyhearts has haunted me since I first read it over 30 years ago.

An excerpt:

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts --

I am sixteen years old now and I dont know what to do and would appreciate it if you could tell me what to do. When I was a little girl it was not so bad because I got used to the kids on the block makeing fun of me, but now I would like to have boy friends like the other girls and go out on Saturday nites, but no boy will take me because I was born without a nose--although I am a good dancer and have a nice shape and my father buys me pretty clothes.

I sit and look at myself all day and cry. I have a big hole in the middle of my face that scares people even myself so I cant blame the boys for not wanting to take me out. My mother loves me, but she crys terrible when she looks at me.

What did I do to deserve such a terrible bad fate? Even if I did do some bad things I didnt do any before I was a year old and I was born this way. I asked Papa and he says he doesnt know, but that maybe I did something in the other world before I was born or that maybe I was being punished for his sins. I dont believe that because he is a very nice man. Ought I commit suicide?

Sincerely yours,

Desperate





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