Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title: The Last Tycoon
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Literature
Publisher: Scribner's
First published: 1941
Pages: 190

Rating: 5 out of 10

This book, which Fitzgerald was still working on when he died, is the last of a great author's life works.

The story revolves around Monroe Stahr, a powerful force in the world of Hollywood movies. Despite his name, Stahr prefers to stay out of the limelight and behind the scenes as a producer. He meets and falls in love with a younger girl who resembles his late wife, though he has recently discovered that is dying of a terminal illness.

Though I am glad that I finally read this, as Fitzgerald is one of my favorite American authors, I can't say that I actually enjoyed it as much as I was hoping to.

The beginning chapters were narrated by Cecilia Brady, the daughter of Stahr's business partner. She gives us an overview of Stahr, and is able to convincingly focus on his life rather than her own story due to the fact that she is secretly in love with him.
At this point, I thought that Stahr sounded like an interesting character. However, when the narrative switched to Stahr's voice, I found that he wasn't really interesting at all. Funnily enough, I noticed that Cecilia now sounded more interesting in Stahr's passing notices of her, making me want to hear more. But when she was telling us the story, she was pretty bland.

I suppose that the true romance of this book hadn't taken off yet, or perhaps it had. Whichever way, I simply couldn't feel anything for Kathleen and Stahr. It just didn't feel believable to me, and Kathleen annoyed me anyways, with her swiftly changing mind and boggling love triangles. She seemed insincere and reedy.

With all of that, I do feel compelled to note to myself that Fitzgerald never finished the book. Undoubtedly he had more work to do on it. Who knows, maybe in the finished product, Stahr would have remained fascinating both in Cecilia's and his own voice, the love story would have become more real, and I would have been interested.

There was a guide in the back of my book with Fitzgerald's notes in it, planning out the rest of the story, so if the interested reader likes, they can find out what happens to the characters in the end. However, the notes were quite long, and I skimmed through quite a few of them without having anything catch my eye. So, I put the book down. I just didn't like it enough to go into an in depth study of it.

I would recommend this to fans of Fitzgerald and perhaps to those who are very interested in the golden age of Hollywood.