Stewart O’Nan chats about F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘West of Sunset’
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legacy has become synonymous with the glamour of the Jazz Age and the success of “The Great Gatsby.” His complicated life with wife Zelda has become the stuff of myth, portrayed in numerous biographies and novels.
However, during the last three years of his life, Fitzgerald was a troubled man in poor health, his wife consigned to a mental asylum and his finances in ruin. It was also during this period in time that Fitzgerald strove to make a new start as a Hollywood screenwriter.
Stewart O’Nan’s novel “West of Sunset” (Viking, 304 pp., $27.95) offers a glimpse into this time in Fitzgerald’s life as he arrives on the MGM lot, falls in love with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, struggles with his addiction to alcohol, works on “The Last Tycoon” — all while trying to maintain a semblance of family normalcy with Zelda and their daughter, Scottie.
O’Nan chatted about the book by phone from his Pittsburgh home. He will be discussing his book at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood on Jan. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.