West of Sunset (Hardcover)
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West of Sunset by Stewart O'Nan is a stunning biographical novel about F. Scott Fitzgerald. It opens with Scott visiting Zelda in an asylum, and leads into his years writing for studios in Hollywood. I knew nothing of Fitzgerald's life, aside from his brief time in Paris, and was fascinated by the company he kept in 1930s Los Angeles: Dorothy Parker, Bogart and Mayo, Hemingway and Sheilah Graham. Fitzgerald was unsuccessful as a screenwriter in Hollywood -- shuttled from picture to picture, laid off, fired. He struggled not only with the booze but at earning a living; famous, but broke, utterly human and vulnerable. This would make a wonderful book club selection. -- Mia W.— From March 2015
January 2015 Indie Next List
“This novel begins after F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda have streaked across the Jazz Age sky like bright, shiny shooting stars. Scott is in Hollywood working as a script doctor and shakily holding on to sobriety; Zelda is in a mental hospital clinging to sanity just as tenuously. Unaccustomed to the workaday world, Scott struggles to prove his worth in Hollywood by showing up to work on time, paying his bills, and living a life of quiet desperation. Gone are the days of wine and roses; Scott must now learn to live as if there is a tomorrow. O'Nan offers a subtle portrait of an American icon as an ordinary man attempting to redefine himself after nearly losing it all.”
— Kerry Spaulding, University Book Store, Mill Creek, WA
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).
About the Author
STEWART O NAN is the author of fourteen previous novels, including The Odds; Emily, Alone; A Prayer for the Dying; and Snow Angels, as well as several works of nonfiction, including, with Stephen King, the bestselling Faithful. His novel Last Night at the Lobster was a national bestseller and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he lives with his family."