Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I had been looking for a second Fitzgerald read after the Great Gatsy, something as enticing and electrifying, something with the feel of that long-lost era of the roaring 20s. However, it saddens me to say that while the shadows of cigars, blues and buzzing romance followed the writer to this novel, something just wasn’t the same.

The story takes forever to take off, with the first couple of hundred pages introducing characters (most of which unessential to the story) that we never even feel a real connection to. Rosemary, a movie starlet, meets the Divers on a trip to the French riviera with her mother. Dick and Nicole Diver are a charming, rich, successful, sexy and exhilarating couple who, supposedly, are a subject of envy among the bourgeois. Rosemary is instantly taken away by Dick’s appeal and is convinced he’s the love of her life, while simultaneously readers dig deeper into the Diver’s dysfunctional relationship.

“I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside me there’ll always be the person I am to-night.”

Now let’s call it.

The story is pointless. Don’t be fooled by the prose and the vibe that only Fitzgerald can create, I suggest you look at facts instead. The writer himself low-key realized the book was a mess; he kept rearranging chapters until the moment of his death. The story drags on and on that at some point, it trails off into the sunset and comes back for seconds. I already mentioned that I couldn’t feel a connection to the characters, but I’d like to stress on that seeing as I couldn’t care less about what (or who) any of the protagonists ends up doing.

If you want a Gatsby, read a Hemingway.

I think I’ll stop here.
Goodnight, old sport.

Always bring a book home. x

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