Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an unfinished novel as the author died suddenly of a heart attack while he was working on it. In addition to the unfinished text, the book also contains numerous notes and letters Fitzgerald had written outlining his plans for the novel, as well as a summary of what was not yet written based on those and on interviews with those who had known Fitzgerald. All of this was enjoyable to read. Fitzgerald’s prose and themes are great, and the peek inside the craftsman’s mind was a rare treat. The story of one person told by another, Fitzgerald is experimenting with a technique he had evidently picked up from Conrad. By letting his narrator imagine the actions and inner thoughts of the characters, he is looking for “the verisimilitude of a first person narrative, combined with a Godlike knowledge of all events that happen.” This might be something I’ll experiment with in my next novel. If I ever finish the one I'm working on now.

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