Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender Is the NightOn the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed facade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. 

"Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character -- lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative -- Tender Is the Night, Mabel Dodge Luhan remarked, raised F. Scott Fitzgerald to the heights of 'a modern Orpheus.'"  The Great Gatsby is great (no play on words intended), and it's definitely a favorite, but I wanted to read some of Fitzgerald's other novels (there are several). Tender Is the Night sounded the most interesting, and finally I acquired a copy of it without having to resort to Amazon!

The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night are very different but both brilliant. This novel is set in France at a resort, whereas Fitzgerald's more famous novel is set in Long Island. The writing is also different in both books, though I really loved the writing in both of them. One of the main differences is that Tender Is the Night is told in third person whereas The Great Gatsby is narrated by Nick. The thing about The Great Gatsby is that it's 180 pages, more of a novella than a novel. Tender Is the Night, however, is a full-length book. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with shortness, but a longer work allows the writer to develop the characters, the events, and the subtle relationships much more. This makes Tender Is the Night in some ways a better crafted novel. But I do love The Great Gatsby more; in some ways the its shortness makes it more action packed. Though I think this one deserves more acclaim than it has got. Hemingway loved it.

Tender Is the Night proceeds at a much slower pace than The Great Gatsby, which was great to read. It is just as lyrical and profound as Fitzgerald's more famous book, but softer and more musing somehow. Even though it's not told in the first person, we get to see Rosemary's perspective really well, as more as a general outlook on events.

I unfortunately left Tender Is the Night at school over the weekend, so my reading of it was disrupted a bit. It's definitely really different in tone to anything else of Fitzgerald's that I've read. Some parts of it did drag a little bit and I got bored, but overall, I really enjoyed Tender Is the Night.

Read Tender Is the Night:
  • if you like F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • if you like books set in France
315 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

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