A Novel Imagines Scott Fitzgerald's Life in Hollywood: "West of Sunset" by Stewart O'Nan

Jan 19, 2016

On this edition of ST, we chat with author Stewart O'Nan about his latest book, "West of Sunset," which is just out in paperback. It's a novel that imagines the final years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, when he was living and working in Hollywood in the 1930s...and trying, more or less in vain, to re-capture the literary greatness of his earlier years. As was noted of this work by The New Yorker Magazine: "O'Nan's adroitness with atmosphere and period detail makes Fitzgerald's dreams of creating worthy work, even with his best days behind him, absorbing and poignant." And further, per The Boston Globe: "A mesmerizing and haunting novel.... O’Nan delivers -- whole-body -- the sensation that you are deep inside a living, breathing, suffering consciousness.... Another triumph of the novel surfaces in O'Nan's wily insinuation into Fitzgerald's creative life, how it breathes through his everyday existence. Movingly and believingly, the manner in which a writer works -- thinks, processes, assimilates, envies -- is given life. And that is ultimately what makes the book so special." Also on today's program, our commentator Barry Friedman offers an essay on "Old Men and Glasses."