Tender is the Night By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Book/Novel Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Book/Novel Title: Tender is the Night
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a friend’s copy of Tender Is the Night, “If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God’s sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith.” Set in the South of France in the decade after World War I, Tender Is the Night is the story of a brilliant and magnetic psychiatrist named Dick Diver; the bewitching, wealthy, and dangerously unstable mental patient, Nicole, who becomes his wife; and the beautiful, harrowing ten-year pas de deux they act out along the border between sanity and madness. In Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald deliberately set out to write the most ambitious and far-reaching novel of his career, experimenting radically with narrative conventions of chronology and point of view and drawing on early breakthroughs in psychiatry to enrich his account of the makeup and breakdown of character and culture. Tender Is the Night is also the most intensely, even painfully, autobiographical of Fitzgerald’s novels; it smolders with a dark, bitter vitality because it is so utterly true. This account of a caring man who disintegrates under the twin strains of his wife’s derangement and a lifestyle that gnaws away at his sense of moral values offers an authorial cri de coeur, while Dick Diver’s downward spiral into alcoholic dissolution is an eerie portent of Fitzgerald’s own fate. F. Scott Fitzgerald literally put his soul into Tender Is the Night, and the novel’s lack of commercial success upon its initial publication in 1934 shattered him. He would die six years later without having published another novel, and without knowing that Tender Is the Night would come to be seen as perhaps its author’s most poignant masterpiece. In Mabel Dodge Luhan’s words, it raised him to the heights of “a modern Orpheus.”
This novel has been read as one of the best 100 novels in the last century. While it is certainly written in a style that is ” highbrow” The plot is tedious, and is nowhere near the style of writing from the same era as Hemingway. I feel that I I am confident in my review as I read it once 10 years ago, and again recently. It is just a sad story.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is a master and I would never question his raw writing ability, however the plot is confusing. As the story unfolds there are wonderful moments of highs and lows, yet it is a tricky and windy way of telling this tale. But, I would also add, that seeing the sentences in this text were such a treat. His power behind dialogue is unmatched and I am still a major fan of his magnificent work. I’ll always be coming back for more.
Tender is the night is His best work. Better than the Great Gatsby by far. The story centers around Dick Diver, a Brilliant young Psychologist, who marries his patient Nicole. An in depth analysis of Character development. The book starts out slow but really gets phenomenal as the story concludes. Stick with it as he can be a difficult writer to follow but worth the time and study.
This is a subtle and beautifully written novel, that WILL change your perspective on reality, if only you surrender to the beauty of its language… It will make you look for a sunbeam’s reflection on a wave, search for a subtler shade of light on the foliage of a tree, notice the ephemeral footprints on the ground on a rainy day…The subject of the book may not appeal to everybody, agreed, but from a purely aesthetic point of view, this novel is the SUMMIT of ELEGANCE and will not disappoint ” les amateurs du beau ” : Beauty’s lovers will be enthralled by it !The only downside is that the novel is unfortunately unfinished, so it ends rather abruptly, leaving the reader eager for more, wondering… But even that lingering end has something strangely appealing to it and only heightens the artfulness of the finalized portion.All in all, a most satisfying and poetically refined read !
So much has been said about F. Scott and Zelda, their glory days, their dissolution, their rocky marriage, Zelda’s mental degeneration, and Scott’s impoverishment and alcoholism, that it isn’t worth repeating when considering this work. The work itself is strangely uneven, with a first half full of obscurity and overly complex sentences, and a second half full of clarity and purpose. Perhaps the nine years it took F. Scott to write it made him overthink its opening half, but this is a story of a cultural age, a magnetic marriage, and a gradual diffusion of love in the midst of a couple of affairs, mental illness, and the Divers’ emotional turmoil. Oddly, this book was a financial failure, as its settings and characters reflect an age of wealth and privilege in a time of financial peril in America. No one was interested in the comings and goings of men in tuxedos and women in evening gowns hopping around the world in yachts and planes, and constantly slopping down endless drinks along the way. Yet, there’s more here. There’s the inner emotional window to pain and sadness as all the vicarious living catches up to these characters, and they split apart. Fitzgerald is a master at portraying this. And in the end, I was grateful for having read this. It is for the most part masterful.
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