Stewart O’Nan chats about F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘West of Sunset’

latimesjcFrom the L.A. Times:

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.


The Odds of Reading a Great Review of The Odds: 3 in 3

The latest batch of reviews for The Odds.

The Miami Herald

Can Art and Marion revive their marriage?

What do you do when you’re in your 50s and have been laid off, your house is about to be foreclosed on and you’re on the brink of bankruptcy and divorce? If you’re Art and Marion Fowler, the couple in Stewart O’Nan’s endearing new novel, you head for Niagara Falls and try to beat the odds.


The Columbus Dispatch
Troubled couple give marriage a final throw of the dice

The Odds gambles without flaunting how much it’s putting at stake.

Stewart O’Nan, whose fictional territory is the microscopic changes of everyday life, here enters the more colorful region of romance.

And not romance in the elegant, sophisticated sense. He tackles the cheesiest of situations — Valentine’s Day at Niagara Falls, where proposals, marriages and honeymoons are at their heights. Out of this sappy setup, he makes a subtle study of marriage, with its complicated system of rewards and risks.


The L.A. Times
In ‘The Odds: A Love Story,’ Stewart O’Nan uses a light but steady touch to provide an intimate portrait of a couple in crisis.

There is a clarity to O’Nan’s prose: It doesn’t call attention to itself, doesn’t flaunt dazzling sentences or stunning descriptions. This may undersell his work, which is delightful. There is something movie-like in it — not that this should be a movie, as his novel “Snow Angels” was — but it’s movie-like in its easy immersion. Cracking open “The Odds” is like settling back to watch a film as the theater lights come down: It plays out, brightly, before your eyes.