Cecily's Reviews > Tender Is the Night

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Aug 20, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: miscellaneous-fiction, american-canadian

Rosemary (young movie star) and husband and wife, Dick and Nicole Diver, all expats in France… Dick is originally a psychiatrist and Nicole was his patient - a psychologically unhealthy relationship for both.

My version is the original, with time jumps (many editions were chronological). The middle period of the story (the start of the original structure), when Dick first meets Rosemary is somewhat slow. Once you understand more about Dick and Nicole, it gets better.

A bit like Thomas Hardy, some of the characterisation is weak, though there are some vivid descriptions and epithets.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Zanna I've never been able to get through more than a few pages of Hardy - interesting comparison!

Cecily Hardy was better as a poet than a novelist, I think, though it's so long since I read anything by him, I suppose I might have a different opinion now. I wonder what Fitzgerald's poetry would have been like?

message 3: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim In terms of language, I prefer Hardy's writing to Fitzgerald's: the poetry is always there, lurking in the prose. However, Fitzgerald captures place and time superbly and I find him worth reading for that if for no other reason. And in this novel the autobiographical references are particularly interesting.

Cecily Yes, I'm aware of the autobiographical references, but only vaguely; I'm sure there are many I missed. (I don't read many biographies, and when I do, they tend to be of authors whose works I already know well.)

message 5: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sutter Lee I absolutely loved Tender is the Night when I read it in my early 20s; I believe it was the first F. Scott Fitzgerald I'd read.
I even chose Nicole for my daughter's middle name, for the beauty of the name, not for the character, a very mentally disturbed woman.
Over time, I learned the novel closely based on Zelda.
Couple years ago I read their published love letters to each other: Dear Scott, Dear Zelda, and I liked her enormously, based on her letters. I think she was more intelligent and a better writer than F. Scott, and an adult,even in her mid-teens; worldly, observant, introspective, eloquent, with high standards and expectations.
I've also read Z.Need to add to my GR bookshelves.

Cecily Hi Lee.
I generally read fiction, though what you say about Scott and Zelda's letters is interesting. Did she come across as "mentally disturbed" in those, though, or was that something that happened later?

Jeffrey Keeten You might have liked and enjoyed this novel more if you knew more about F. Scott and Zelda's relationship. In fact Zelda would often get mad at Scott because something she said would show up in one of his novels/stories. I'm sure my perception of the novel is colored by the lives of the author and his wife. I've been meaning to go back and read his novels. I read them all in my twenties. I'm sure I was more impressionable then. I also read a lot about the duo along with the novels.

A shorter review than you normally write!?

message 8: by Cecily (last edited Aug 20, 2014 02:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cecily Jeffrey wrote: "You might have liked and enjoyed this novel more if you knew more about F. Scott and Zelda's relationship. In fact Zelda would often get mad at Scott because something she said would show up in one of his novels/stories."

Thanks, Jeffrey. It sounds as if Fitzgerald is a writer for whom it's really worth knowing about his life - and I don't blame Zelda for being annoyed at him using their life in ways she might not have wanted.

Jeffrey wrote: "A shorter review than you normally write!?."

Yes, an old review. I corrected a single typo - and unticked the "include in newsfeed" option so as not to spam my friends. Evidently it doesn't work that way. ;)

message 9: by Ian (last edited Aug 20, 2014 02:57PM) (new) - added it

Ian Vinogradus I don't think I had picked up on the references to psychiatry in Fitzgerald, until I saw the Baz film of Gatsby (based on the first draft of the novel). It's a long time since I read anything but Gatsby.

message 10: by Lee (last edited Aug 20, 2014 02:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sutter Lee (I wrote the following, believing I was responding to Cecily's comments and questions; just now discovered that someone else, Jeffrey, was also commenting and asking questions directed at Cecily.)
Hi Cecily; Zelda's schizophrenia didn't occur until she was 30, and her letters to Scott began when she was 19 and continued beyond their divorce, until her death, and I seem to recall that Scott continued to write to her to feel they were still connected.
I doubt that I could have enjoyed Tender is the Night any more than I did when I was 22-23, as I enjoyed it thoroughly.
I've since become well aware of how F. Scott showed a lack of integrity by taking (stealing) a lot of Zelda's writings for his own work, lifting words directly from her letters by putting them in his characters' mouth(s); abusing confidences by creating stories and characters, often thinly disguised, based on what should have been private.
I respect the young Scott from what I've gathered and for his lifelong feelings about and commitment to Zelda, but alcohol, fame, wealth and decadent lifestyle ruined him.
His first novel, The Other Side of Paradise, seems as though F. Scott was looking into his own future; in some respects, it became a self-fulfilled prophesy.
No, this is not necessarily a shorter review than I usually write; as I don't do them often, and certainly not for publication, other than on GR; often what I say on a book comment is blog-like, my feelings, reactions, recollections.
Seems that you write reviews for publication, yes?

Cecily Lee wrote: "I wrote the following, believing I was responding to..."
Don't worry; it's easy to lose track.

Lee wrote: "I've since become well aware of how F. Scott showed a lack of integrity..."
I'm not in a rush to read more of his works, though I surely will at some point. When I do, I will research his life a little more first. It sounds very relevant, even though he doesn't sound like a very nice person.

Lee wrote: "Seems that you write reviews for publication, yes?"
No, only here (assuming that was addressed to me.)

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