Friday, January 3, 2014

17 of 1001 Books: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night

F.Scott Fitzgerald is best known for his work The Great Gatsby, but Tender is the Night is another novel known in the ones he wrote. There is definitely a great story in the pages, but also the reflections of a very troubled artist who was struggling in his marriage after his wife, Zelda, had been institutionalized, and he was struggling with his own alcohol problems. The works has great moment, but there are many moments where it rambles, and even is disjointed in storytelling. If there is something to be beautiful about it it is the inner workings of characters that strongly reflect the reality of the writer.

Summary: Dick and Nicole Diver fascinate Rosemary, a young star rising to fame. Rosemary though is even more intrigued by Dick who she is falling in love with. Rosemary's interest in Dick though will be the first crack in the facade they've made that their family is normal like anyone else's. As Nicole's weakness are revealed it sends Dick scrambling, and questioning where real happiness lies. In his work or with true love, that just might not happen to be with Nicole and their two kids?

Characters: The characters have such interesting names. Tommy Baron, Dick Diver, Nicole Diver, Rosemary Hoyt. It seems that Fitzgerald spent more time in his literary career finding memorable names to give characters than planning a novel. Each of these characters reflect something very broken, but none of them are particularly likable. It was much of the same struggle I had with The Great Gatsby. All these people are very selfish. Dick is only Nicole because he loves working in his career so much he literally wants to marry it, Nicole Diver never seems to be more than vacant, and Rosemary is a starlet just getting her feet into the water of the world she is getting into. When she first appears in the novel she is very close to her mother, and travels everywhere with her.

Writing: The characters have enough going for them, but then the question is can you get the writing to the well developed point the characters are? The writing is a bit disjointed. Some moments  I was very confused because an explanation of something would be caught off before it could be fully explained. Just because the event maybe unknown to different characters doesn't mean the reader will follow that. Unlike other Fitzgerald novels this does lack in all those beautiful quotes and dialogues he is known for writing. There are moments, but not as many.

Plot: The plots of Fitzgerald novels are so sad and sometimes apathetic, that it feels like that Fitzgerald set his own life up to be as tragic as his novels. His novels from the beginning always had more of a sadder vibe to them even when his life wasn't in the downward spiral it turned to. In away the tragedy aspects of his novels are very fascinating, and for those more into dark romantics novels it goes there. I did love the plot that the pages contained, but the writing veers off course so much that it becomes difficult to let it flow as you're reading.

Tender is the Night seems to be a love it or hate it novel. I think the way the story is told meshed with the characters who seem very intertwined in their own selves makes it something that is divisive. Fitzgerald is a mastermind of stories though, but not always able to quite execute them in a way that is always appealing to read. It's puzzling yet has some beautiful moments, especially of a woman finding herself.

Rating 7 of 10

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