The Last Tycoon

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Paperback, 1988

Call number




Scribner (1988), 176 pages


Depicts the inner-workings of the Hollywood movie industry and its impact on the fabric of American life.

User reviews

LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
It's too bad this was never finished. I think this would have been my favorite Fitzgerald book. Even incomplete, I like it better than anything else I have read. This is a simple yet complicated story about love. She loves him. He loves someone else. That someone else is set to marry anyone else
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but him. Classic love square. You have to feel sorry for Monroe Stahr. He is lovestruck by a woman who strongly resembles his deceased wife. As a man in the movie business he has the money and the power to woo Kathleen into a brief relationship, even despite the fact she is engaged to be married to someone else. Meanwhile, there is young Cecilia, a junior at Bennington College, just willing Stahr to look at her, to notice her. It is her voice that tells the entire story. Fitzgerald explains the first and third person narrative. What Cecilia is not witness to, she imagines. "Thus, I hope to get the verisimilitude of a first person narrative, combined with a Godlike knowledge of all events that happen to my characters" (p 164).
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LibraryThing member jpsnow
Clearly his unfinished masterpiece - full of Scott's usual skill at conveying those little essences of life for which there really is no word. Also his best of all works in terms of describing a situation so vividly with so little verbiage. The notes are published at the end of this copy, showing
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other phrases and concepts he intended to include but had not yet integrated. His notes reveal that the plot would get somewhat more harsh, bringing in plots of murder, communism, unions, and a plane crash. The telling through both Cecilia and from the third person allows some very interesting perspective. She is a dynamic character in this story, but more because she sees her past through her now more mature (or jaded?) eyes. Her early wisdom: "It's not a slam at you when people are rude -- it's a slam at a people they've met before." Monroe Stahr has both reserve and spitfire moments. He is perfectly portrayed as the last of his kind of totalitarian, but fatherly tycoon's of that time. The overall work is very well integrated with the current history and parallels of Fitgzeral's time (and sickness, and comments about film and writing). He is especially clever for using the relationship between screenwriting and movies to make meaning within the story and about the arts themselves.
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LibraryThing member Chris_V
Fitzgerald's unfinished novel of Hollywood in the 1930s centres on Monroe Stahr a workaholic film producer who falls for a young girl who reminds him of his dead wife. The novel is narrated by the young daughter of the studio head who has a crush on Starr. Had he lived this could have been a novel
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that would have revived his fortunes. An intriguing but sad read.
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LibraryThing member watson_1
I was a little skeptical to read an unfinished novel. But, I enjoyed The Great Gatsby too much to pass this up. It was clear that this novel could have been even better than Gatsby.

I enjoyed reading the novel. The editors added a section to explain what may have happened next. I found this
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pointless. The story stands alone quite well and there is no need to figure out what happens next. The beauty is in the writing and story telling. It can end where it ends.
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LibraryThing member stypulkoski
Charles Scribner's Sons (1969); Hardcover, 190 pages
LibraryThing member AprilAnn0814
A great pity that it is unfinished.
LibraryThing member madepercy
If only I had read this work years ago... There is much to be learnt by reading an unfinished book, especially this with the author's chapter plan, character sketches, unedited rants and revisions. I expected Fitzgerald's colleagues to have attempted to finish the novel. Instead, however, the
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rawness of "The Last Tycoon" provides a window into the mind of an author in full swing. Yet if it were finished I doubt it would have had the same impact. On finishing reading the book I was at once melancholy - for the author, for the characters, for the friendship/comradeship/competition between Fitzgerald and Hemingway, for the thought processes that we would like to think are far too human, too prosaic for those who have written and written well. The scholarly care for the development of the piece is amplified precisely because of the scaffolding Fitzgerald left behind at his death, much like seeing the inner workings of a precision timepiece normally hidden from view. Fitzgerald's plot does the same to Hollywood. So much so that he couldn't have planned it better, or written truer at all, had he finished the story. "The Last Tycoon" immortalises Fitzgerald as a glorious death in battle for a warrior king. Only we are much the poorer for his early demise.
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LibraryThing member edwinbcn
he Last Tycoon is F. Scott Fitzgerald's last novel. It was unfinished and published posthumously. This edition contains the full text as finished by the author + outlines, notes and correspondence about the novel which elucidates or helps understand the novel and how Scott Fitzgerald intended to
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finish it.

Scott Fitzgerald was one of the top authors of his age, the best-paid short story writer of the 1920s. He is probably best known for those stories which are the ultimate expression of the 'Roaring Twenties'. After the Great Depression of 1929, the market for magazine-published stories collapsed, and his stories written and published in the 30s reflect this depressing period, almost like a hangover from the previous decade.

Scott Fitzgerald's novels tend to be a bit more serious. They are set in the same milieu of the jet set, often featuring loose lifestyle morals with a tendency to flippancy. The Last Tycoon is a little bit more serious.

The novel is set in Hollywood, but its main character is not a film star. She is the daughter of a wealthy director. Thus, the novel portrays the Hollywood life from within, but not directly from its glamorous side. Focus is rather on the writers and the makers of movies, perhaps one might say the unglamorous side of the film world.

While Hollywood movies are all about the fulfillment of Romantic love, the novel is about unrequited love: She loves him. He loves someone else. The idea is simple, yet so true.

Besides this main theme, the novel develops some sidelines about the less glamorous side of Hollywood.

Personally, I find the novels of Scott Fitzgerald difficult to read. The writing is obviously very good, and in many places wonderful, creating great moments, however, the overall structure is loose and sometimes it is difficult to follow what's going on. With Fitzgerald, however, it's worth the effort, and on the whole The Last Tycoon is a satisfactory read.
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LibraryThing member lydia1879
I read this the way I read most Fitzgerald novels, over a weekend, in giant chunks. This one feels a little less like his work and a little more disjointed, and that is because it was compiled after he died, by editor Matthew Bruccoli.

I have to say, as an unfinished work, Bruccoli does an
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incredible job of assembling the narrative. I also had issues with the narrative voice, at first. Although the main narrator was a woman, it still had a very masculine, Scott-like tone, but I grew accustomed to it.

I don't think I am the ideal Fitzgerald reader. I'm a pretty lazy reader. I don't scrutinise every conversation for all his subtleties and mastery.

I loved this. Scott writes some really, really beautiful passages. The scene at the drug store lunch counter? Perfection.

I wouldn't recommend starting on this book if this is your first Fitzgerald but as always, any time I read him I'm left wondering why I waited so long to start.
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LibraryThing member Jonathan_M
*Partial spoilers ahead*

Too bad that Fitzgerald was unable to finish The Last Tycoon, since it's obvious that he was returning to the focused, tightly structured style of The Great Gatsby after the rambling disorder of Tender is the Night. The prospect of slogging through an incomplete novel may
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seem a bleak one to many readers, but this book contains one of Fitzgerald's finest moments. Monroe Stahr, so visibly unwell, is the author's most sympathetic protagonist (though one might not expect to find a film studio executive--or any Fitzgerald character, for that matter--sympathetic), and Stahr's encounter with Kathleen at his unfinished beach house is a tour de force of mature writing. Their excitement, their knowledge that the romance can only come to a bad end, and the blend of awkwardness and humor that characterizes their post-sex conversation are incredibly realistic. This scene is not cleverly, poetically written: it's believably written, and demonstrates Fitzgerald's true mastery.

Contains a brief foreword by Edmund Wilson, just under 150 pages of novel text, a synopsis of how the book would have ended and a lengthy section of notes on the manuscript ("Rewrite from mood," Fitzgerald said of Chapter 1). For fans it's a must, and for anyone it's a fascinating look at the construction of a work of literary art.
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LibraryThing member snash
A beautifully,, believably written book that sadly was not completed due to the author's death. The characters are fully formed and complex. The environments that scenes take place are carefully crafted to set the mood and echo the events taking place.




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