Conn named a five best list of novels from the Great Depression for the Wall Street Journal.
One title on the list:
The Day of the LocustRead about Number One on Conn's list.
by Nathanael West
Random House, 1939
The best novel ever written about Hollywood appeared in the last years of the Depression. A young artist, Todd Hackett, has come to the West Coast to paint the legions of bored and lonely men and women who migrate to California in pursuit of a dream they never find. The studios' celluloid fantasies mock the deprivation of the country throughout the 1930s, providing escapist entertainment in the midst of despair. The novel is punctuated with scenes of violence -- drunken brawls, bloody cockfights, sexual assault -- that unfold in the glow of Southern California's legendary warmth and sunshine. In the climactic scene, a murderous riot provoked by a movie premiere provides a "real" counterpart to Todd's painting, "The Burning of Los Angeles."
The Day of the Locust also figures among Jonathan Evison's list of books about the Spirit of California.