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.
A harrowing memoir about one of the darkest periods in American history. It recounts how Solomon Northup, born a free man in New Yor, was lured to Washington D.C., in 1841 with a promise of fast money then drugged and beaten and sold into slavery. He spent the next twelve years of his life in captivity on a Louisiana cotton plantation.
It was an axiom with Pongo Twistleton that his Uncle Frederick was one of those people who ought not to be allowed at large. When, therefore, that irresponsible, perennially youthful peer, masquerading as a famous brain specialist, set out to save ‘the Empress of Blandings’, a prize pig belonging to Lord Emsworth, from the clutches of the Duke of Dunstable, and then went on to intervene in the tangled love-affair of Polly Pott and the poet Ricky, Pongo feared the worst. And his fears were amply justified. At the critical moment the Duke’s coldly efficient secretary, the detested Baxter, aided and abetted by Lady Constance Keeble, threatened to wreck the whole gigantic scheme. Blandings Castle was shaken to its very foundations.