O’Nan is a writer of quite extraordinary range, author of a corpus of novels which embrace widely diverse styles, scenarios, bases of character and story. His work is infallibly wise, compassionate, fearless in its description of the darker margins of human existence, enthralling, always. West of Sunset is, in my view, one of his finest achievements – and I’ve read all his work – beautifully shaped writing, an unerring pulse of drama, a captivating story, full of pathos, wicked humour and indelible portraits drawn, as it were, from vibrant life. Here’s poor Zelda, in her delirium: ‘Maybe I was never meant to be a salamander, just this poor thing they wrap in sheets and feed when the bell rings. I’m sorry I cost you all those cities all those perfect boulevards with their lights burning down around us in the night.’
West of Sunset is published by Allen and Unwin, 2015.