Home > Literature > F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Last Tycoon

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Last Tycoon

Fitzgerald’s unfinished masterpiece that was published posthumously is considered to be one of his finest works. Firstly, the novel succeeds at what Fitzgerald does best, employing pop culture references and various other techniques to give the reader a great feeling for the time & place. In this case the time & place is 1930s Hollywood though Fitzgerald uses it as a greater allegory for the American Dream. The last tycoon in the novel’s title refers to Monroe Stahr, a flawed hero and, at first glass, the epitomy of American success. The flaws, however, become more glaring as the narrative proceeds and begin to be seen as a greater critique of society itself.

Stahr wields huge power within his circle and, it would seem, he could have anything and anyone he desires… but love eludes him as does happiness, his job is taking its toll on his health and slowly killing him, his new house is not completed, seemingly due to apathy, and lacks a roof… The lack of roof is one of the many symbols in the book used to describe the fake emptiness of the society and, overall leads up to an ending that sums up the damning indictment the book is on the Hollywood establishment and American society of the time.

What I like about Fitzgerald is his aforementioned grip on the times, the Zeitgeist if you will, and his ability to use many references and allegories to make the narrative feel “real” and placed. In that sense, one can see how his writing influenced Murakami. Although the writing is unemotional and cold at times, the plot is still quite compelling. Check it out.

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  1. Meg Roberts
    January 14, 2009 at 10:29 pm


    I found your blog because you commented on mine, but I just had to comment when I saw a post on F. Scott Fitzgerald. He’s my favorite author, and this is the only novel of his I haven’t read yet. You’ve made quite the argument for it, so I’ll be picking it up soon.

    Have you seen Benjamin Button yet? I’m not sure if it’s out in Australia yet, but if it is, it’s a pretty interesting take on the Fitzgerald’s short story.

    All the best,

  2. alexlobov
    January 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Hey Meg,

    Thanks for the comment! I’m not a huge fan of Fitzgerald yet only by virtue of the fact that this is the first book of his that I’ve read (yes I haven’t read Gatsby shame shame) but he is a major influence on my favourite writer – Haruki Murakami. I will definitely be reading more of his work on the future and you absolutely should read the Last Tycoon. They say it would possibly have been his best work if he could have finished it before his death.

    As for Benjamin Button – no I haven’t seen it yet but am totally hanging out for it. I’m actually in Belgium right now and I think it’s due to come out here sometime this month so can’t wait 🙂

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