What happens when you suddenly find yourself on the back side of fame? From New York to Paris to Hollywood, F. Scott Fitzgerald had led the high life of the Jazz Age. By 1937, though, his star had burned out, and he found himself almost penniless, with a daughter to support and a wife in an asylum.
That spring he holed up in the Smokies, in a tired resort hotel by the asylum so he could be close to her. A bout of pneumonia over Christmas had provoked a flare-up of his TB, and he was still recovering. The mountain air was supposed to help. Days he wrote in his bathrobe drinking Coca-Cola to keep himself going, holding off on the gin till nightfall—a small point of pride—sipping on the dark verandah as couples strolled among the fireflies rising from the golf course.—West of Sunset by Stewart O'Nan (Penguin USA / Viking, 2015, p. 1)
- Setting: 1930s, Appalachians, Hollywood
- Circumstances & major topic: Exploring the last three years of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, including flashbacks to earlier times.
- Characters: Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda, and their daughter, Scottie; various Hollywood stars (such as Humphrey Bogart); people from the publishing world (like Dorothy Parker)
- Recommendations: I haven't read past the first paragraph, but Fitzgerald and the time period interest me. Plus I've enjoyed other O'Nan novels
Thanks to the publishers, I'm able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a copy of Stewart O'Nan's West of Sunset. All you have to do to be entered to win is to fill out the form. I'll pick a winner via random number generator on February 6. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal data from my computer. Good luck!