The scene is Australia, in the 1920s. The central figure is a writer, Richard Lovat Somers, seeking horizons of more width and promise than those of moribund Europe — and so, with his wife, Harriet, he has come to discover for himself the people and the way of life of this vast land of opportunity.
The Last Tycoon is a description of the real Hollywood of the 1930s with its ruthless moguls, broken hack-writers, faded actors, alcoholism, and promiscuity. But it is perhaps most notable for its portrayal of the tycoon Stahr, the artist-autocrat who was, as the novelist Dan Jacobson has written, ‘…the closest Fitzgerald ever came to making an adult embodiment of what he hoped or desired for himself and his society’.
One of the tragedies of modern literary history is that Scott Fitzgerald died before completing the book, but this volume contains a fascinating synopsis of the rest of the story which has been put together from the author’s notebooks.
‘I would rather have written this unfinished novel than the total works of some widely admired American novelists’ — J.B. Priestley.