The Chosen City

Hollywood in THE 1930s

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David Wurtzel
The Chosen City, Hollywood in the 1930s

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Bobby Steingrove is an outsider in a large Jewish family. His uncle Stanley runs a motion picture studio in Hollywood during the golden era of the 1930s, but Bobby’s father is dependent on his charity. When Bobby gets in to Yale, a new world on the East Coast opens up to him. He falls in with a moneyed clique of amoral young men from prep schools. Handsome and clever, Bobby is able to keep up with them while he loses his innocence and falls in love. After an elegant party one night in a grand house in Fifth Avenue he is willingly led into in Central Park.

   Ultimately, what happens outside in the dark that night puts Bobby’s aspirations on hold and sends him back to Los Angeles to work in his uncle’s film studio. He discovers a novel written by one of his Yale friends with a protagonist he recognizes as a disguised version of himself. The studio’s biggest star, Laura Hampshire, has also seen that book and persuades Stanley to film the novel as vehicle for her, on condition that Bobby writes the script. By accident, Bobby must take over as director and completes the project. When his past is discovered, he is cast out by his family and blacklisted in Hollywood.

   Returning to New York, Bobby seeks new opportunities to prove his talents, but it is never clear who is being seduced and by whom.

Author David Wurtzel practised at the English Bar and for several years was consultant editor of the Bar’s magazine, Counsel. His first novel, Thomas Lyster: A Cambridge Novel was published by Brilliance Books.  

ISBN 978–1–9163613–6–2 (paperback)    336 pages 
Dimensions: 216mm × 22mm × 138mm
Weight: 370g
£11.99 + UK postage
For more information and for details of shipping outside the UK, phone Christopher Taylor at Discript Limited on
020 7240 3196

Praise for The Chosen City

“This is a great dynastic family saga, with added appeal for film buffs. It’s not short of ingenious twists and surprises, which unfold in an appropriately filmic way. One is left wondering who to cast in the screen adaptation.”

The Jewish Chronicle


“Wurtzel’s novel largely comprises dialogue, which gives the story a really good pace and makes for a highly enjoyable and accessible read.”

The Middle Templar

Click here to see the full review


“Wurtzel has written a witty, surprising and captivating novel about Hollywood in the 1930s and the effect of its morally dubious ways of doing business on a charismatic and intelligent Jewish outsider who suddenly finds he has the chance to become an insider. But is that really what he wants?”

Richard Zimler, author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon and The Incandescent Threads


“Wurtzel’s splendid mastery of dialogue is evident.”

Victoria Kastner, author of Hearst Castle


“Totally fascinated – how authentic!”

Kevin Brownlow, film historian and documentarist of ‘Hollywood’


“A remarkable achievement. You crafted it so well: the beginning catches the reader’s curiosity, and you don’t lose it. Will Hollywood make a film of it?”

Nicola Padfield KC(Hon), Emeritus Professor of Criminal and Penal Justice, University of Cambridge