O'Nan's New Novel Fictionalizes the Final Years of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Feb 6, 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald on June 4th, 1937.
Credit Carl Van Vechten / Wikipedia

In his latest novel "West of Sunset," author Stewart O’Nan chronicles F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Pittsburgh author Stewart O’Nan joins us in Studio A to discuss his work.

O'Nan says that, despite Fitzgerald's fame and the spectacle of Hollywood in the 1930s, we don't know very much about the author's time as a screenwriter.

"He's a legendary character and he's in a legendary time and place," O'Nan says. "We don't really know a whole lot about it."

O'Nan uses the real facts and timeline of Fitzgerald's life in Hollywood as a frame for the story, filling in the scenes himself. He says that adapting Fitzgerald's sensibility provided a greater opportunity to understand what it was like to be the famed writer.

"The biographies can't take you close enough," O'Nan says. "Only fiction can take you close enough."