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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 April 2017
A book I read years ago and I wanted to look at it again, as it's based on Fitzgerald's experiences in Hollywood . Unfortunately it was unfinished at his death, but the critics think that it could have rivaled his masterpiece - The Great Gatsby.
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on 11 May 2017
Beautifully crafted
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on 26 July 2010
The Last Tycoon is what we have of F. Scott Fitzgerald's final novel, tentatively titled The Love of the Last Tycoon, which was uncompleted on his death, of a heart attack, in 1940. Fitzgerald had been working in Hollywood for some years at this point, and his familiarity with the milieu makes for an outsider's view informed by an insider's knowledge of the studio system on the eve of of the Second World War. The central character, Monroe Stahr, is modelled loosely on Irving Thalberg, the 'Boy Wonder' producer who had died in 1936 at the age of only 37. However, much of the story as it exists is narrated or 'reconstructed' by Cecilia Brady, the daughter of one of Stahr's partners and rivals and herself a member of the studio aristocracy.

Unfinished novels are necessarily a minority taste, but anyone who likes Fitzgerald will have to read this. In addition to the surviving novella-length text, this edition presents a very full section of notes which compiles all the surviving material of relevance, allowing the reader to assemble a view of what the completed book might have been like. Even without this additional material, the completed chapters hold the interest continuously. Fitzgerald's view of how films are really made is revelatory, the minor characters are memorable, and the romantic triangle between Stahr, Cecilia and the mysterious Kathleen Moore is beautifully developed.

It's worth pointing out that even in its fragmentary state The Last Tycoon is regularly cited as one of the best novels of Hollywood ever written. It certainly gives the lie to the notion that Fitzgerald had by this point laid waste to his talent with alcohol. We can only wonder what he might have given us had he survived a little longer: the surviving draft text suggests that the completed novel might have rivalled Gatsby.
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on 13 March 2013
It's widely thought that had he finished it, this novel would have been Fitzgerald's masterpiece. As it is, about half of the planned chapters completed, it is wonderfully readable. And this edition is one to cherish, with its lovely period pictures.
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on 13 March 2013
Just when I thought I had covered all the F. Scott Fitzgerald in town, this little beauty pops up and yaps at me. Down, boy, down! I love his style, I love his grace. His buddy said 'grace under pressure' but I think F. Scott was the exemplar of that philosophy.
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VINE VOICEon 14 May 2011
This was Fitzgerald's ultimate book as he died whilst writing it. It contains the unfinished script as it stood as well as notes on what would have come, and the changes from the original vision.

The script is a tale of the conflict between two men at the heart of Hollywood and the battle over the soul and direction of the movie business. It is a tale that mixes love, lust, business and the struggle between boss and workers.

Without the notes, this feels much like a book half finished; lots of threads have been started but none of them have woven together. The notes confirm the direction to come and provide satisfaction at least that this book truly could have been great. Without the unwritten chapters, it shows glimpses of what could have been.
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on 29 September 2012
This is fairly short at 160 pages or so. Seems the author intended this to be about twice the length, going by the notes at the end. The actual novel, in its unfinished form I'd say is ok, not amazing. The fact, that, it's set in Hollywood and centred around it, is no big deal, in my opinion. The best part of the novel is the romantic relationship between M Stahr and the coy, sort of enigmatic Kathleen; the movie stuff is fairly incidental.

The writing is very good in parts, very subtle, at times sad and moving. Romance, or failed romance, was, of course, the author's main preoccupation. While that aspect of the writing is enjoyable, large parts of the novel are fairly ordinary. Stahr sits in a room with movie people, watching screen tests; doesn't like them, gives orders to change them; has a slightly fearsome presence etc... Does that make it the great, definitive novel on Hollywood? Some would like you to think so.

I liked it, but don't feel there is anything exceptional about it. I can't compare it to 'The Great Gatsby' as I read that ages ago, but it's spurred me on to read 'Tender is the Night'.

There's a short and pompous introduction to the book, by friend and fellow writer Edmund Wilson, which is frankly nonsense. He claims it's FSF's most mature work and a true landmark in modern literature and other such daft stuff... Actually, it's just a story about a guy that makes films, falls for a good looking woman and discovers he can't have her. Nothing more, nothing less...

Still, not a bad read.
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on 6 December 2013
The book and its cover are nice enough but of course the story, unfinished and unedited, still represents the highest achievement of this author. His ability to draw characters, to let them interact naturally, to weave an atmosphere in as few words as possible are a rare talent, and were this story finished it would (in my view) be an extension of The Great Gatsby rather than Tender is the Night, based on what he did manage to finish. A great sadness that he didn't live to complete it.

As for the book itself, it is well presented and forms part of a series of "hardback classics" that are worth showing on any bookshelf, but that is of course a mere bonus for those who like good books.
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on 9 August 2010
I enjoyed also the notes at the end of the book regarding the development of the characters.
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on 22 April 2014
This had the potential to be equal in genius to 'Tender is the Night' or 'Great Gatsby' if it had been completed. I just wish he'd managed to finish it because the notes for the remainder of the book looked fascinating and I'd have liked to see how it developed. An interesting array of characters and situations and the atmosphere Fitzgerald creates is typical of his novels though slightly different. I can't put my finger on it but it was more disenchanted and resigned. Well worth a read if you are a voracious FSF reader. If only it were completed...
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