About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: West of Sunset
Publisher: Viking, New York
Publication Date: 2015
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
A “rich, sometimes heartbreaking” (Dennis Lehane) novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years in Hollywood
Look out for City of Secrets coming from Viking on April 26, 2016
In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long over. In poor health, with his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruins, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood. By December 1940, he would be dead of a heart attack.
Those last three years of Fitzgerald’s life, often obscured by the legend of his earlier Jazz Age glamour, are the focus of Stewart O’Nan’s gorgeously and gracefully written novel. With flashbacks to key moments from Fitzgerald’s past, the story follows him as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, begins work on The Last Tycoon, and tries to maintain a semblance of family life with the absent Zelda and daughter, Scottie.
Fitzgerald’s orbit of literary fame and the Golden Age of Hollywood is brought vividly to life through the novel’s romantic cast of characters, from Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway to Humphrey Bogart. A sympathetic and deeply personal portrait of a flawed man who never gave up in the end, even as his every wish and hope seemed thwarted, West of Sunset confirms O’Nan as “possibly our best working novelist” (Salon).
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2015: When an ambitious writer hops onto a high wire and strides across with grace, it's a wonderful thing to behold. And I don't mean this as hyperbole. Stewart O'Nan's West of Sunset, his glimmering fictional biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald's troubled years in Hollywood, is simply one of the best books I've read in many months. In some ways, this is a portrait of the artist as an aging man. We see Fitzgerald, "like an athlete," awake each day at 5 to write, then toil through long hours at "the Iron Lung," MGM's catty screenwriters' wing, then scratch out a few more words at night (which would turn into his unfinished final novel, The Last Tycoon). "When he was working, it worked," O'Nan tells us. "It was when he stopped that the world returned, and his problems with it..." In truth, not a whole lot happens. Fitzgerald pops his pills, visits Zelda and Scottie back East, has a messy yet loving affair, and occasionally gets stupid drunk. We're treated to sassy walk-ons by Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, and Humphrey Bogart. But part of the quiet, somber and entrancing appeal is how fully we become absorbed by Fitzgerald's fight for relevance, or at least a few bucks. Ultimately, it's quite heartbreaking to see the legendary creator of Gatsby cling to his literary dignity, his reputation and sanity slipping from his grasp, an outsider to the end. --Neal Thompson
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