I am not entirely sure what happened in this story. It tells the story of a man who moves to Hollywood to make it big. He befriends some interesting characters along the way and the story is really just about their somewhat mundane lives as they are trying to either become movie stars or are just trying to get by.
The story is told by the main character, Todd Hacket, but then it shifts and is told from another character, Homer Simpson. The thing that unites these two characters and makes their paths cross and become friends is a woman named Faye. She is an inspiring actress who will never make it but Todd is in love with her but will never have her, and she takes advantage of Homer by living in his house rent free. It is a simple book that tells of these characters lives together for a short amount of time. The main focus is on Todd but just because he is the main character it doesn’t really make him the good guy. In fact I can’t put my finger on which the “good guy” or “bad guy” would be in this book. There was no real beginning middle or end, things just sort of happened.
Todd is a painter; he came to Hollywood to pursue his career as an artist but winds up being a costume designer and set painter for films. He mentions that he is working on a personal piece entitled “The Burning of Los Angeles.” The last chapter of the book tells of the riot that breaks out just before a movie premiere. As Todd is being thrown around in the riot he imagines his painting, the flames glowing red, his friends running in the foreground. I really liked how in the end, since there was no true ending because nothing was resolved, Nathanael West brought back the painting because from the start of the riot it seemed possible that Los Angeles could burn that night.