“From this bleak backdrop unspools West Of Sunset, Stewart O’Nan’s sparkling and frequently delightful fictionalized take on those years. It’s a setting that’s near impossible for culture buffs to resist; for a certain subset of nerd, this is a sort of literary Avengers, collecting Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy Parker alongside O’Nan’s delicate and sensitive portrayals of Fitzgerald and wife Zelda, to say nothing of Humphrey Bogart and a cameo by Katharine Hepburn, eating soup.”
A U.S. Navy commodore’s 1823 General Order announcing the imminent seizure of Key West – at the time known as Allenton – has been obtained, along with “1,000 other pieces of the island’s history,” by the Monroe County Public Library. The collection also includes a book from 1858 written by William Curry, “a penniless Bahamian immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire.” Best of all? You can view some of the cache online.
At the Southern Review of Books, Justin Evans reflects on Breece D’J Pancake‘s celebrated collection of short stories from 1984, published five years after his death. “The stories of Breece D’J Pancake, by their own merit, are remarkably tied to the rural home of their author,” Evans writes. “Unfortunately, they are also tied to the author’s absence. Honestly, it’s tempting to romanticize this collection of fiction. I still have a copy of the 2002 edition that I stayed up all night reading sometime around 6 years ago. There was something about the scale of history and place against the scale of the individual, about the mix of gravity and triviality in grief that I found energizing at a time when most of my day went to physical labor.”