“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.”
Over at Buzzfeed, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah travels to James Baldwin’s home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, and explores his life as an expat. She writes, “Baldwin left the States for the primary reason that all emigrants do — because anywhere seems better than home.” Pair with Justin Campbell Millions essay on Baldwin and fatherhood.
As the lone mental hospital in The Magic Mountain referred to by its real name, the Hotel Schatzalp is a holy site for many Thomas Mann scholars and fans. At Page-Turner, Sally McGrane writes about the modern hotel, which employs a staff trained to deal with the occasional “literary fanatic.” (It also might be a good time to read Matthew Gallaway on Death in Venice.)
A few weeks ago, Benjamin Hale wrote an article for us about the trivialities and happenstance associated with publishing prizes. His point was that legacy was more important than short-lived fame. In a way, his piece is nicely supplemented by Tom Bissell’s essay on the luck and chance necessary to attain literary success.