Monday, May 13, 2013

F. Scott Fitzgerald's Last Novel - A Review

. . .and a Mini-Liebster. Have you ever wondered what the studio life was like for someone working there in the 1920s and 1930s, when cinema was young?

The Last Tycoon




The Last Tycoon, F. S. Fitzgerald, cover for Penguin Canada


In this interesting tale of Hollywood during the 'reign of producers' in the late 1930s, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows us the behind-the-scene life of the producers, the stars and their circling firmament of support people in the film industry: writers, actors and extras, technical wizards in production and the executive (money) of the studios. Fitzgerald spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood employed by MGM, working on commercial short stories, and scripts while penning his final novel, published as The Last Tycoon. Originally, the title for the movie was The Love of the Last Tycoon.


Cecilia Brady, the daughter of one of the film producers relates what she sees and what she guesses. As a narrator, she has an ideal vantage point, bringing to the story her insider's interpretation of the events and the people living the 'Hollywood' studio life.


In the beginning of the story, Cecilia introduces us to the main characters, Stahr, herself, her father, and the writers. These are the 'regulars' around the studio, the focus of the novel, however, is on Monroe Stahr, a producer of the Golden Age variety, who took an interest other than monetary, in the quality of the movies he was producing.


Then, Stahr meets the One. She looks like his beloved dead wife, Minna. He finds her after much searching, she exists on the outer edges, not a member of the film industry. Their mini-story uplifts the last half of the book that Fitzgerald completed.


At this point, the manuscript stops with the untimely death of Fitzgerald. The synopsis he left behind is used to show the reader what he had planned to do with the end of the novel. A letter indicates he considered serializing the novel, something many authors are considering in today's world. Fitzgerald wanted to show the industry in all its glory, but also to reveal some of the shoddiness beneath.


Fitzgerald gave us a semi-realistic look at a fantasy business. I liked this book, and the main character, Monroe Stahr. You might like it, too.


***And Now, for something completely different. . .


The MINI-Liebster





The lovely Suze included me on her list of bloggers for the Liebster Award and since it was Mother's Day, I decided to do a mini-version.

Thanks to Suze, an award I can't refuse. Why? Go look at the distinguished company listed at Suze's place, 'Sublimininal Coffee', after you've finished reading here.

For a quick run down of the rules for the Liebster Award, and to use the badge if you'd like to, please click here.


One unknown thing about me?

I've had three close calls with extreme danger, all auto related.

In a car accident with 3 friends in my teens, I was a passenger. My side of the car narrowly missed a tree when our rear fender was winged by a drunk driver running the light. Our car spun in a circle and up an embankment towards the tree.

As a kid, the way I usually walked to the corner store was down the sidewalk on the main road. On this day, I walked the back way which was a little cooler (in the US south in the muggy summer). Just a whim. On my way back I saw a lot of people in front of one of the houses next to ours, and went to see what the problem was. A car had run up onto the front sidewalk crashing into the utility pole.

Another car accident: riding in hubs sports car years ago, we stopped behind a car turning, but the car behind us didn't see us until too late.  We could hear the screeching tires and braced ourselves for the impact. (one of those moments when you feel like Wiley Coyote). We were the filling in the sandwich of cars. Evasive action helped.

I hope there's no pattern forming here. . .

***

Liebster Mini-questions:

Where are you living now? Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

What book are you reading now?
Two books, Roland Yoeman's 'The Bear with Two Shadows' and 'Three Spirit Knight'.

Greatest struggle as a writer? The administration part. My creative half rebels.

***

I don't usually do Two-for-One Posts, so I apologize for the length. Hope you have time to comment.

Have you read this novel by Fitzgerald? Do you like books about the Hollywood industry and the background of movies?

Thanks for dropping by if you came here from the Liebster List and please continue checking out the other blogs on Suze's list.

***

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Scott_Fitzgerald The Author, The Fitzgerald

 http://subliminalcoffee.blogspot.ca/ Suze's Blog

26 comments:

  1. That sounds like a fascinating book even though it's unfinished. I'll have to make note of it. That was the era to be a writer in.

    I had a very near miss in a car, too.

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    1. I quite enjoyed The Last Tycoon, Mary, even though it is unfinished. He left interesting notes which are included in part at the end of the novel.

      Those near-misses are scary.

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  2. I love Fitzgerald and my favorite is Gatsby, but you do make a terrific case for Tycoon so I will be checking it out.

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    1. This book drew me in quicker than the others he's written.

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  3. Wow, you are really lucky when it comes to accidents. I'd say the fact you haven't been seriously injured is a good trend.

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  4. Thanks for the run down of Fitzgerald. I don't know nearly enough about him than I should. And those are some crazy close calls, glad you were never injured. My mother is a bit superstitious and she would say bad things come in threes. So hopefully you're in the clear for future accidents. (:

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    1. I've heard that about bad luck in threes, too, Elise.

      Fitzgerald was an interesting guy, who never seemed to find exactly what he wanted.

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  5. D.G. (writing your initials I all of a sudden wonder what they stand for) I hope you have no more Coyote moments--I cannot *imagine* being in the middle of a car sandwich. I think Al is right, though, the fact that you haven't been seriously injured is an excellent trend.

    I actually have not read 'The Last Tycoon.' Just 'Tender,' 'Paradise' and 'Gatsby.' My husband and I were having a long conversation about these books just yesterday.

    I like your mini-Liebster. :)

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    1. The initials - that's another story, Suze. I'd say give The Last Tycoon a try.

      Yes, I hope I don't get any more Wiley Coyote moments like that, either. Hubs set the emergency brakes on the last one and minimized the hit, so we didn't ram into the car in front of us as much. We braced for the impact. I did have to take some recovery time on this one, though.

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    2. I think you've had your fill of close calls. No more!

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  6. The book sounds fascinating.
    As do your near misses - you might be a "cat-woman" with nine lives. :)

    The two books you're currently reading also sound intriguing - I'll check them out too.

    And that Mini-Liebster is cute - enjoy it, you deserve it!

    Cheers, Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. Roland, the author of those books, blogs at 'Writing from the Crosshairs'.

      I like the idea of cat-woman. . .and nine lives.

      Delete
  7. I haven't read that novel. Can't think of any others I've read about Hollywood necessarily, but I love that era of the '20s and '30s. The hats women wore were so fabulous! :P

    And congrats on the Liebster. Crazy that you've been in so many close calls in the car. Scary stuff.

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    1. I like the hats from that time. I like hats in general on women and men. Gives a bit of dash.

      It's always better to view those near-miss incidents in retrospect.

      Delete
  8. I don't think I ever want to ride in a car with you.
    Haven't read that novel.
    Oh, and I hate everything that's not the writing part about this business.

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    1. In two accidents, hubs quick thinking has mitigated the effects. I didn't mention the accident where a girl going too fast came around a curve on a wet street and hit our truck, spun us around and towards a house and shed.

      Hubs managed to steer our small truck between the shed and a light standard. We were wedged in, both doors, but we were safe. Firemen had to open our back window so we could climb out.

      So I understand, Susan, but it's not me, it's those other drivers. . .

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  9. Congrats on the Liebster, and that'll be enough of those accidents, now. Too scary.

    Yes, I HAVE read "The Last Tycoon", but it was quite a few years ago. I wrote a term paper on Fitzgerald, and as part of the research, read all of his books. Enjoyed every one of them too, including this one.

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    1. It's nice to know someone else who has read Fitzgerald. The one I liked least was his first book on his college years but even that had his excellent style of writing. This one The Last Tycoon was my next fave to Tender is the Night. I still have one more to read.

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  10. I am in 1930's mode, so I'll definitely add this book to my list.

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    1. If you're in 1930s mode, you'll like it.

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  11. I have not read this book. It sounds fascinating.

    Congratulations on your award. I hope you're finished with car wrecks!

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  12. No more close calls! Good friends are hard to come by. I often read THE LAST TYCOON and think what his ending would have truly been. Stay safe! And I hope you enjoy my two books. Hibbs sends his best. Victor, too. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Roland. I hope so. Please give my thanks to Hibbs and Victor. I like learning more about Grandmother, too.

      I've been reading about Hibbs for the past hour and it only shows as one dot. . .on the online Kindle.(reading progress) I am enjoying both books very much.

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