The Day of the Locust Review

Here’s one of those classic books which I start reading slowly, letting in all its beautiful prose. But as the book fails to accelerate, my reading of it does, anxious to get this act on, eager to get it done. And so, as with other classics, the second half doesn’t get the patience the first half received, and I no longer re-read paragraphs as carefully. It is a pity, I know. I return to pages that seemed to have held plot points, but even as I turn the last page, I wonder why this book is so famed. It just doesn’t grip me and I feel bad for not appreciating such a great novel. It never really excites.

And yet, the theme of the locust is clear. It’s the outcasts, the trying, the failures. The clowns & cowboys, hunting fame or pretty girls in a papier-mache decor, admits a financial depression. Is the early 20th century that different from today? In this sense, it’s a timeless story, which — as Italo Calvino said — doesn’t necessarily teach us anything we did not know before, but helps us see concerns of the moment as mere background noise. It’s one of those books you appreciate more after finishing. A bit.