Miss Lonelyhearts, set in New York City in the early '30s, and the horizontal lines of The Day of the Locust, set in Los Angeles in the late '30s. Finally, just to give some indication of how fully packed this little novel is, the biblical locust story is wrapped in to pretty much every single incident of the action, and in many ways explains everything in this strange litany of episode: the landscape is blighted and dead many different ways, not least in the psychic dimension, overrun by soulless feeding lost people, the late arrivals and still pouring in to Southern California's paradise. Between the time of Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust, one of the most devastating environmental disasters in American history deepened to catastrophic levels, with the advance of the Dust Bowl. John Steinbeck of course has one vision of the aftermath in The Grapes of Wrath. West has another here—one that is much closer to (yet infinitely intensifies) Horace McCoy's 1935 novel They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, a companion novel to The Day of the Locust if ever there was one. By the time the streak of violence in West's novel has erupted into a closely described cock fight and finally explodes into a riot in Hollywood for glimpses of the attending stars at a movie premiere, there is a kind of satisfaction that occurs, a fitting resolution to the burden of dread and anxiety and anomie we live with on a daily basis. It's realistic too, in terms of the beneficial side of catharsis, which after all may be unpleasant in the actual moment but ultimately cleansing, so cleansing. The Day of the Locust is packed full of random incidents, but the elements linger and cohere, chillingly, long after the book has been put down.
In case it's not at the library.