The best summer reads: Foreign lands inspire new novels

From Western Daily Press (UK):

Choose a holiday read to match your destination. From Cornwall to Hollywood, top authors tell Hannah Stephenson about the places that inspired their novels, and why readers should pay them a visit.

If you’re… Heading to Hollywood:

The last three years of American writer F Scott 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.

“While most of F Scott Fitzgerald’s Hollywood haunts are long gone, Musso & Frank’s restaurant has survived intact, the decor seemingly untouched since he and Sheilah Graham [Fitzgerald’s partner] ate there. Waiters in the same red vests from the thirties bustle between tables, delivering huge bloody steaks and knockout cocktails. Just up the street on Hollywood Boulevard, the Egyptian Theater, where Fitzgerald’s Three Comrades debuted, still hosts gala premieres, and the Roosevelt Hotel, further up the boulevard, is where the stars still go for the after-party.”

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Acclaimed Writer Visits East Greenwich Thursday for Signing, Reading

From East Greenwich Patch:

Stewart O’Nan will read from and sign copies of his latest novel, “West of Sunset.”

Acclaimed author Stewart O’Nan is in town and he’ll be at Symposium Books on Thursday night for a book signing and reading from his latest novel, “West of Sunset.”

O’Nan, an award-winning writer, is widely known for the novel “Wish You Were Here” and has also penned “Snow Angles,” “A Prayer for the Dying,” “Last Night at the Lobster,” and “Emily, Alone.”

O’Nan will be at Symposium Books beginning at 6 p.m.

The shop is located at 1000 Division Road in East Greenwich Square.

For more information, head over to Symposium Book’s Facebook page.

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Also, from Coastal Illustrated:

Gatsby’s doomed creator

Stewart O’Nan is undoubtedly one of the bestselling authors you’ve never heard of. He started writing professionally with his wife’s encouragement after leaving his career as a Grumman Aerospace test engineer to pursue his real passion. Over the past two decades he has given us 15 splendidly dynamic novels. He’s an author who writes easily without an ounce of pretension; a man who writes about the people nobody else is writing about. For instance, his book “Last Night at the Lobster,” a spare, nearly perfect novel in which there are no unexpected plot twists, and no overarching political themes, revolves around the manager of a doomed Red Lobster restaurant during its last night of operation. (O’Nan cites his major influences as Stephen King and Flannery O’Connor, two names you’re not likely to hear linked again any time soon, but make perfect sense when you read his work.)

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Theodore Weesner, Author of ‘The Car Thief,’ Dies at 79

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Theodore Weesner in 1972. Credit Random House

From The New York Times:

Theodore Weesner, a novelist who mined his wayward youth for the stuff of his celebrated first novel, “The Car Thief,” and whose half-dozen other books earned plaudits for their patient, realistic narratives and humanely considered characters, died on Thursday at a hospital near his home in Portsmouth, N.H. He was 79.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his son Theodore Jr. said.

Mr. Weesner’s conventional literary life of teaching and writing emerged from decidedly unconventional beginnings. The child of an alcoholic father and a teenage mother, he spent part of his youth with other children in an unofficial foster home, became a distressed and introspective teenager who turned to petty crime, never graduated from high school and lied about his age to join the Army at 17.

His 1987 book, “The True Detective,” which is set in Portsmouth and employs multiple perspectives in telling the story of the abduction and murder of a 12-year-old boy, received mixed reviews, but its admirers include the novelist Stewart O’Nan, who, in a radio interview, called it “one of the great, great American novels.”

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