In 1937, F. Scott Fitzgerald was a troubled, uncertain man whose literary success was long behind him. In poor health, with his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruin, he struggled to make a new start as a screenwriter in Hollywood.
The 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 heartfelt new 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 their 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.
Written with striking grace and subtlety, this wise and intimate portrait of a man trying his best to hold together a world that’s flying apart, if not gone already, is an American masterpiece.