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By Stewart O'Nan

A “mesmerizing and haunting” (The Boston Globe) novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years in Hollywood
 
Look out for City of Secrets coming from Viking on April 26, 2016

In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald used to be a , doubtful guy whose literary good fortune used to be lengthy over. unwell, together with his spouse consigned to an asylum and his funds in damage, he struggled to make a brand new commence as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

Those final 3 years of Fitzgerald’s existence are the point of interest of Stewart O’Nan’s swish and elegiac novel West of Sunset. With flashbacks to Fitzgerald’s glamorous Jazz Age earlier, the tale follows him as he arrives at the MGM lot, falls in love with brassy gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, starts off paintings on The final Tycoon, and attempts to take care of a semblance of relatives lifestyles with the absent Zelda and their daughter, Scottie. The Golden Age of Hollywood is introduced vividly to lifestyles in the course of the novel’s romantic solid of characters, from Dorothy Parker and Ernest Hemingway to Humphrey Bogart. Written with amazing grace and subtlety, this can be a clever and intimate portrait of a guy making an attempt his most sensible to carry jointly a global that’s flying aside.

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On they pressed, throughout the humid urban and north alongside the shore, the place there has been extra for Zelda to indicate. Scottie had taken off her footwear and curled up at the seat, although even if she was once actually asleep was once guesswork. “Smell the ocean air,” Zelda stated, sniffing, and he did. At Georgetown a brand new metal bridge crossed the sound, the open deck making their tires whine. The tide should have been going out, as the close to rail used to be coated with negroes fishing off the part. “Look on the pelicans,” Zelda stated, imitating them. The island used to be a pine barrens flat as a runway. Miles forward their resort rose from the white dunes. just like the Beverly Hills, the Beachcomber was once a coral monstrosity, its whimsical scale intended to provoke. After the Crash it had replaced palms precipitously, moldering empty for numerous seasons, but if they grew to become in, the topiary seemed freshly barbered, the croquet garden completely manicured. They pulled as much as front and a platoon of liveried valets in knee breeches swarmed the Ford. even though it was once the tip of the season, the gateway of work Day approximately upon them, the porches overlooking the gardens have been teeming with Charleston society, even the lads wearing white, sipping gin and tonics and nibbling canapés. within, on the foot of a sweeping staircase, a guy in tails was once taking part in a grand piano over a floor bass of dialog. there has been a line on the concierge table. have been they with the Cabbagestalk marriage ceremony? In once more they might have acknowledged convinced, danced with the bride and groom and inebriated champagne until eventually they couldn’t stand. Declining the invitation, he felt boring and in charge, fatherly. Beside him, Zelda had ultimately long past quiet, having a look round open-mouthed, as though beaten through the luxury decor, whereas Scottie studied her booklet, and he remembered this journey used to be his doing, and that it was once going approximately in addition to he may possibly count on. He’d reserved a set so that they should be jointly, he and Zelda within the one bed room, Scottie at the sleeper sofa. The separate beds he’d promised Sheilah have been a backyard aside, at most sensible a technicality. As they unpacked, he spotted Zelda’s outfits have been wrapped like presents in butcher paper. “Hand-me-downs,” she stated. “I’ve outgrown all my very own outfits. ” “Who are they passed down from? ” “Donations. The misplaced and located. We get every little thing within the laundry. Don’t fear, it’s fresh. ” with out try at modesty she pulled her blouse over her head and selected one other. in addition to around, heavy breasts, she’d constructed a mound of a abdominal, as though she have been pregnant. The narrow, long-limbed lady he married used to be long gone. It was once like she was once one other girl altogether. The shirt she buttoned up—unironed, exhibiting each fold—was a vivid pistachio with a vestigial pocket over her left breast. It was once an entire measurement too vast, and held on her like a muumuu. He regarded away, too overdue. “A gentleman doesn’t stare,” she acknowledged. “Who stated i used to be a gentleman? ” “You had aspirations as soon as, if I remember. ” “I gave these up. an excessive amount of paintings. ” “I understand what you suggest. ” He couldn’t make sure in the event that they have been joking anymore.

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