West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan


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.

β€œHe’d come west not just for the money but to redeem his previous failures here.”

A narrative pulling at your heartstrings as we join Fitz in a ‘do-over’ of sorts. Financially depleted, burdened and obligated to Zelda and her mental instability we see Fitz’s faults and dotted line of vulnerability or self depreciation. It’s obvious the passionate, turbulent couple is over, they live in the past as they stumble and become strangers in the present as they fear and mutely inwardly predict their nonexistent future as a coupling. The connection keeping them tethered, their daughter Scottie, causality and certainty.

“Zelda had been well then, one of her last good summers back when they still made plans.”

Another rocky romance blossoms as Fitz falls for Graham serving as both his weakness and strength. He attempts to redeem himself with short terms results, only to become a dog chasing his tail. His mistress – alcoholism, as his many attempts sobering lead right back to drink. Sad depiction of the fall of a talented man, never able to regain his status and grip as before. Plagued with issues you become curious if he ever stood a chance.

Beautifully written and well researched. Amazing as the world is still captivated equally by this writer and stormy couple. Wonderful fictional effort, Fitzgerald’s spirit is felt with the turn of each sad page.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: January 13th 2015 by Viking Adult
ISBN13: 9780670785957


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