Miss Lonelyhearts took the New York Post-Dispatch's advice-to-the-lovelorn column as a joke, but after doing it for a while he doesn't feel like laughing anymore. He caroms between painful conversations with his cynical editor/boss Shrike, the speakeasy, his fiancee and other women he seduces or who try to seduce him, and the pain of lost souls who write to him for salvation. Modern life and capitalism eat away at the souls of West's characters just as they ironically killed him (in a car crash) at the age of 37. His short novel is very depressing, yet frighteningly funny (West wrote scripts for the Marx Brothers).
This report prepared by David Loftus