West of Sunset was chosen as one of the Notable Fiction Books of 2015 by the Washington Post! Here’s what they said about it:
O’Nan compassionately and beautifully evokes the grim last act of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s life, when he worked as a Hollywood screenwriter. Sick with alcoholism and tuberculosis, he labored to make flimsy scripts better, a tired but relentless craftsman. — Maureen Corrigan
A reminder that Stewart will be at the 19th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival! He’s the Keynote Speaker and will be on a variety of panels.
Also, on Friday 10/9/2015, there will be Readings in Tribute to Richard Ford — “Four distinguished contemporary fiction writers will read selections from their work as their tribute to Fitzgerald Award honoree Richard Ford.” The lineup:
Robert Olen Butler
West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan review – a fine fictional F Scott Fitzgerald
Sadness, estrangement and promise mark the last three years of the Great Gatsby author’s life as a helpless Hollywood hack
O’Nan imagines the last three years of Fitzgerald’s life, from 1937 to 1940, less as a second act than an intermission; a moment of uncertainty, in which the familiar scenery disappeared. West of Sunset captures the sadness of such moments, but also their promise: as its second epigraph states, “nothing was impossible – everything was just beginning.”
The gossip columnist who made Hollywood
“Few people who grew up against that kind of backdrop in the early 20th century ever escaped poverty, but Sheilah was a pretty incredible woman,” says American author Stewart O’Nan, whose latest novel West of Sunset is a fictionalised account of the last three years of the life of F Scott Fitzgerald when he lived with Graham.
“Her first job as a teenager was in a department store, but she had her sights set on much bigger things and became a music hall dancer. It gave her a taste of the entertainment business and before she left for America she had also begun writing a column for the Daily Express.”
On August 22, Stewart was at the Edinburgh Book Festival! Here was the topic that was discussed:
VISIONS OF F SCOTT FITZGERALD
Two different periods of F Scott Fitzgerald’s life are covered in novels from Liza Klaussmann and Stewart O’Nan. In Villa America, Klaussmann has Fitzgerald and Zelda alongside Picasso and Cole Porter as summer guests of two wealthy ex-pats. In O’Nan’s West Of Sunset Zelda is in an asylum leaving Fitzgerald, a struggling artist, trying to reclaim his past glories in Hollywood. Chaired by Stephen McGinty.
Here’s a review of the event:
This entertaining discussion about F. Scott Fitzgerald was like eavesdropping on an animated, cultural conversation during a literary soiree at Gertude Stein’s Parisian apartment.
Stephen McGinty was the charming host with his guests, Liza Klaussmann and Stewart O’Nan who have both published fictional accounts of the glamorous Gatsby-esque life and tragic early death of the American novelist.
From Press & Journal (UK):
O’Nan has written a wonderfully intimate and gently absorbing book. It inhabits an era and a fine mind with great care, folding in details of Fitzgerald’s life with subtle, unhurried sympathy. The result is a portrait of grace under pressure, of a kind of moral courage very different to the macho antics of the writer’s great rival, Hemingway. Great title too.