Mandi's Reviews > Babylon Revisited and Other Stories

Babylon Revisited and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Oct 06, 2010

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bookshelves: read-during-peace-corps
Read in September, 2010

“The Ice Palace” was an interesting play on the cultural differences that once existed between the north and the south. Being in the DR in the Peace Corps while reading this, it made me think of how easily the story could be told between someone from the DR and an American.

“May Day” was interesting to me because I have interest in understanding more about Socialism and how people felt about it in the US during that time, plus it gave Fitzgerald’s constant interest in writing about the rich a political significance. Yet, all these different characters looped in and out of one another’s lives without making any impact, which was probably the point of the story, yet it was depressing. Human beings crave connection, so the absence of that must be why Fitzgerald has a suicide end the story.

“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” shows again that Fitzgerald connects the rich with thoughtlessly killing people, even feeling entitled to. This rich family even keeps slaves. But what makes this story interesting is that there is a Sermon on the Mount where the head of the family actually comes up against God, offering God a bribe, expecting that God has a price that can be met. This is the most obvious a-religious imagery I have seen from Fitzgerald to depict the rich.

“Winter Dreams” seems to be more about relationships with a little of the idea of the posh girl and the hard-working boy who made his own wealth. I enjoyed this one and from how it began, I didn’t expect that I would. The end escapes the fantasy the beginning seems to suggest and provides a very sad truth (for the cynics out there).

“Absolution” is commentary on religion and how people need a little beauty and hope, not just fear, to propel them forward in live.

“The Rich Boy” runs the course of his childhood to when he is 30, so it feels more like a small novel than a short story. This one is a return to the theme of the culture of the rich and the entitlement and pride surrounding those who are part of it, specifically seen through the lens of his relationships.

“The Freshest Boy” is such a bittersweet story of an outcast who finally figures out how to make it. It has the painful line: It isn’t given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal.

“Babylon Revisted” is so tragic and sad. It is the story of a man who is trying to make amends for his drunken days back in Paris during the boom.

“Crazy Sunday” is about working in Hollywood as a writer. It is quite a different work schedule from the days in Paris, now everything is a frenzy of work until Sunday. This story is about a writer’s relationship with a director’s wife.

“The Long Way Out” is a very sad story to end the collection with. It has the same bittersweet sadness of “Babylon Revisted” along with a similarity to the intense love between husband and wife that “Crazy Sunday” had.
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