At first, I was apprehensive about reading The Last Tycoon. F. Scott Fitzgerald never finished the novel as he tragically passed away from a heart attack, thus leaving behind an incomplete manuscript and a detailed outline of the novel. Apparently, he wanted The Last Tycoon to resemble elements of The Great Gatsby, and if he had the opportunity to complete it, I believe it would have shared many similarities.
The story is primarily narrated by Cecelia Brady, the daughter of a high-ranking Hollywood producer (though, Fitzgerald does also navigate to third-person too). She has had a crush on her father’s business partner, Monroe Stahr, for a long time, but the crush appears one-sided. Stahr is overcome with loneliness after the death of his wife, however, a chance encounter with a woman who resembles his former love ignites a fire inside of him and he becomes infatuated with this said woman known as Kathleen. His complicated relationship with Kathleen isn’t the only problem in his life, he also has to deal with Cecelia’s father, who is determined to have him removed from the company at all costs.
Despite the novel being incomplete, everything Fitzgerald fans love about his writing is present in the novel. His writing is eloquent, even though it’s an initial draft. He was also able to capture the essence of Hollywood in all its melancholic glory with his words. It’s hard to judge a book in its entirety based on an outline and annotations, but the ending proposed by Fitzgerald seemed fitting of his style and the story he typically strived to create. Reading his outline was an insightful process, as it provides an opportunity to dive into the mind of one of the greatest writers of all time.
It’s hard to predict what Fitzgerald would have done with this novel, but I propose two hypothetical outcomes — the novel would have been his greatest work yet, his masterpiece; or, it could've been a let down if he took the story in circles and didn’t add enough action. The outcome will forever remain unknown, but we’re still able to appreciate and find beauty in its present form.