Half-way through, I am enraptured by the psychological tensions about a simple activity of having dinner with difficult family relations. Paula Fox ex...moreHalf-way through, I am enraptured by the psychological tensions about a simple activity of having dinner with difficult family relations. Paula Fox exquisitely writes.
Jelinek deserved that 2004 Nobel Laureate in Literature as my first foray into her written world proved.
The main tortured character Erika allows her...moreJelinek deserved that 2004 Nobel Laureate in Literature as my first foray into her written world proved.
The main tortured character Erika allows her mother's insistence on musical perfection and achievement to control most of her movements and actions. Mother handles daughter as Jelinek would write. The love and hate in equal measure swing Erika into a emotional pendulum. In retaliation she haunts the peep shows and engages in voyeuristic experiences intrigued and abused by these thoughts. Her need for self-mutilation confuses and confounds a mini affair with a slightly gifted, conniving musical student. Erika unravels.
The density of observation and insight propels Jelinek into high regard. Anything I would report or analyze would be a disservice to this master of prose. She warrants a full research paper.
I have Jelinek's WOMEN AS LOVERS to follow this incredible book. Filmmaker Michael Haneke adapted this book, which I may venture to see, but Jelinek's rich construction will prove superior I will wager.(less)
**spoiler alert** Fitzgerald needed a more involved editor in this book. Book jacket's synopsis convinced me that I might become immersed into a world...more**spoiler alert** Fitzgerald needed a more involved editor in this book. Book jacket's synopsis convinced me that I might become immersed into a world as psychological and memorable as The Great Gatsby (published 3 years later). With a blaring title like The Beautiful and Damned conjectures about the narrative seemed promising.
Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert occupy the majority of the scenes. When you despise the main protagonists and can only emphasize with old Anthony Patch whose participation is minimal, you hope that Fitzgerald's supreme command of character reads and motivations will redeem the precipitous decline of these youthful wastrels. The namesake Patch's sole ambition is to acquire Gloria. Neither work or ambition register as significant. In cynically viewing life as pointless, he prefers to leisurely spend his time on earth. Initially, Gloria reaffirms this philosophy. Furthering this anti-Protestantism work ethic is the belief that Grandpa Patch's millions will become Anthony's since he is sole direct heir. Grandpa Patch had crushed business men by the age of 25 then used his extensive fortunes to support charitable endeavors. Fitzgerald is quoting the ever popular reputation revamping J.P. Morgan, Walter Annenberg (later), and Andrew Carnegie among other industrial tyrants followed. As the reader, you expect Grandpa Patch to punish the idlers and spendthrifts in proper fashion via no gravy train upon his death.
Vapid and gorgeous Gloria relies upon her beauty, wilting at all times, to sustain her sense of self. She cares not for anyone else nor does she invest in an inner exploration. She moves from party to party and male admiration to brief love affairs with pure indifference. Even in a miraculously bizarre surprise, she accepts Anthony's marriage proposal. Can gallivanting around be enough? Clearly, no.
There are passages where Fitzgerald asserts his specialty in observation that are to be studied by every aspiring writer, but then, you also have a plot divergence with World War I and Anthony's forced enlistment. Once he travels south, the momentum and intellectual banter and possible challenges from his Princeton peers cease. These chapters are not astutely conceived. Many biographical connections weave into Fitzgerald's novel which would make for a profound book had he not desperately tried to wrap the ending into a potential film screenplay in its irony. Friend of Anthony's and cousin to Gloria, Richard Caramel is a harbinger for the author's own falsehood to great prose following a grand debut. Eventually Fitzgerald's impetus for writing and working for film studios is motivated by money which fuel his alcoholic tendencies and decadence.
I should have purchased and invested in This Side of Paradise. (less)