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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 stricken, doubtful guy whose literary luck was once lengthy over. unwell, along with his spouse consigned to an asylum and his funds in break, he struggled to make a brand new commence as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

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

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Her behavior of laying off her outfits at events, not like his, wasn’t a drunken stunt. She was once at middle a naturist, happiest at the seashore, open to the solar, freed from any worldly constraints. It used to be her wildness that had attracted him, the need to hitch her boldness to his personal. He’d misinterpret her—willfully, he suspected—as so usually he’d misinterpret himself. It wasn’t her fault. He became out the lighting fixtures to alter into his pajamas after which stumbled opposed to the cloth cabinet attempting to get his leg in. “Are you alright? ” “Just clumsy. ” The sheets have been clammy. He may well inform he’d be scorching later. at the hours of darkness he can make out the sq. of the open window, silvered from the glow of the boardwalk. remote, softly, with the regularity of breath, the surf boomed. It were months when you consider that they’d been by myself like this. In Virginia seashore she’d been ailing, lashing out at Scottie and him, then lapsing catatonic. Now she appeared high-quality. He didn’t are looking to do something to wreck it, and lay nonetheless as a mummy, hoping she’d doze off. He considered Sheilah in her brassiere, how varied the 2 of them have been, and what that intended. in addition to he knew himself, he used to be helpless whilst it got here to love—if that’s what it used to be. His complete lifestyles he’d given himself totally to just one girl. A romantic, he by no means imagined he may perhaps or may back. He had to inform Zelda, although he frightened what the reality may possibly do to her. What it can do for him used to be simply as doubtful. For years now they’d pretended to a deathless bond, whilst some time past they’d stopped counting on one another for his or her day-by-day happiness. With a creaking of springs she sat up and driven herself up and doing. She walked hunched over, her pores and skin ghostly within the mirrored gentle, taking child steps, hands held in entrance of her, feeling her manner like a person blindfolded. He used to be afraid she used to be coming for him, but if her knee found his mattress, she turned around the foot and groped her solution to the window, the place she stood in silhouette. They have been at the fourth flooring, the drop excessive sufficient to be deadly, but he didn’t movement. She sighed appreciatively, a wistful simper intended for him. “What? ” “Remember the celebrities in Monte Carlo? ” “Of direction. ” “I used to need on them. at any time when we went there i wanted we’d win one million money. ” “What occurred? ” “I used to be younger and silly. I must have needed for anything else. ” “You can nonetheless wish,” he stated. “We can nonetheless use one million money. ” “Don’t make enjoyable. ” “I’m now not. ” He sat up. She had her again to him, and the longer she stood there the surer he was once that, if in simple terms to convenience her, he could visit her and take her via the shoulders, relaxation his chin on most sensible of her head and gaze out over the ocean so she wouldn’t be by myself. “There,” she stated, turning from the window, her face shadowed. “What did you need for? ” “If I inform you it won’t come actual. ” She crossed the room to him. Illogically, pettily, regardless of every thing, he fastened on her new physique. She came to visit the mattress and he closed his eyes, as though that will erase his guilt, then, not able to withstand, peeked. She’d stopped correct beside him, brazen as an Amazon.

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