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May Day

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,389 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Pulling her cloak close about her Edith darted across the Avenue. She started nervously as a solitary man passed her and said in a hoarse whisper --"Where bound, kid do?" She was reminded of a night in her childhood when she had walked around the block in her pajamas and a dog had howled at her from a mystery-big back yard. ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published June 30th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1920)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  1,389 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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Jake Leech
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look, we all know that Fitzgerald can knock out a story, so let's just assume that this is pretty well written. The blurb says that this is Fitzgerald's most overtly political story, and I buy that. What I wasn't expecting is how current it felt--reading May Day was exactly like watching old episodes of West Wing. I kept thinking, Oh, this is still an issue today! Obviously the details have changed. We have fewer socialist Rabbis yelling in the streets, for example (I think. I haven't been to Ne ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting and relevant story, brilliantly written, in which poor people drink with their enemies and then attack their own well-wishers, and rich people prioritize champagne with breakfast over helping friends in serious trouble. I think everyone should read this. It will give you a memorable intellectual reference point for any time you take a look at society/politics.
An interesting read. I was easily and quickly pulled in at the beginning. It is clearly a Fitzgerald book based with his very clear and distinctive way of describing people and settings. It goes through the course of two days with a cast of people. (Almost) each chapter switches to a new character after having passed/had an interaction with a previous chapter. I enjoyed it because I don't often read novellas. The ending was much more abrupt and sadder than I had expected or anticipated. This boo ...more
Bart Everson
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this because of the title. It's set on May Day 1919 (and was published the following year) and I thought it might make a nice read as I prepare for May Day 2018.

Turns out the story doesn't have much to do with May Day per se. There is a political theme of class tension that runs throughout, and the fact that it's May Day seems to be provocation enough for a riot at the office of a radical press. That's about it.

Fitzgerald himself describes the story as "unpleasant," and so it is, but I
May 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Happy May Day! Or Walpurgisnacht! Kan-kan don't judge.

“May Day” might be my favorite thing Fitzgerald ever wrote, and the perfect way to celebrate this door into spring. Spoilers ahead – the story's only 60 pages, so just read it!

The storyline is one of suppression, infantilization, and release. Soldiers flood back to America en masse and, having sustained themselves their whole lives on “the institution – army, business, or poor-house – which kept them alive, and […] their immediate superior in
Perry Whitford
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silk shirts and suicide, the perfect complimentary items for an F. Scott Fitzgerald story.

May Day, 1919 was a tumultuous one for America with riots breaking out and the discovery of an anarchist plot to mail-bomb a cross-section of prominent politicians. The country was euphoric that the war was over, but while the future looked bright for some it didn't look so appealing for others.

Fitzgerald taps into the hysteria as the 'Smart Set' of Yale graduates and moneyed 'flappers' dance the night away
Alice Lippart
A short and interesting story
Sidik Fofana
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SIX WORD REVIEW: So that's why he is famous... ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Always love Fitzgerald. Novella quick read and delightful.
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in my self-imposed novella-a-day challenge was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920 novel, May Day. This novel lacks a lot of the finesse that is so obvious in Gatsby, for example, but I think it’s a lot more refined and readable than, say, This Side of Paradise, which I found too apologetic and juvenile. This skinny book is about postwar despair and the conflict between the rich, moneyed classes and those who have fallen below that level of luxury. The Roaring Twenties have just begun.

Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review initially published on my blog, Writing by Numbers, here.

It has come to my attention that some people understand the word “decadent” to be a purely positive term, mostly reserved for chocolate cake. If that’s you, get your hands on some Fitzgerald, stat.

Folks, decadence isn’t just luxury. It’s both a wild party and the wreckage afterwards, it’s the rust behind the gilt. Nobody brings this concept to life better than Fitzgerald. His works, like The Great Gatsby and Tales of the Jazz Age,
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing

F.Scott Fitzgerald's works always call to mind a frothing, bubbling bottle of sparkling champagne. Rich and effervescent, full of the promise of light-hearted banter, flirations and tipsy swaying dances; it's all fun until the hangover kicks in and the luridness of everything around us comes to light. 'May Day' highlights the cruel obliviousness of high society, in all its glorious selfishness, for a world that is not within their sphere of concern. It shows the hypocrisy, not only of the classe
Rebecca Timberlake
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time reading this, and it took me several days to push through. If you know me, you know how absolutely absurd that sounds. I devour F. Scott Fitzgerald. I consume him like air or water.... but don't mistake my meaning. I enjoyed this, as much as one can enjoy this particular story, but it was tough. It's a side of Fitzgerald readers don't get much- it seemed personal and, yeah, maybe a little angry. He has a brief introduction at the beginning (of my copy, at least) where he states ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
A novella based happenings in an Ohio town, but this story interweaves several plot lines in New York City. It's meshes together so well, in a style I feel like no one did until the 2000s. The characters feel like Fitzgerald's usually do - some reach, some very poor, some ex-soldiers, some beautiful, bored girls, and always, in true style, saying so much without coming out and just saying it. Fitzgerald really is a portrait artist. He doesn't tell you what to think or feel or understand, he just ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This was a quick and easy read. Fitzgerald is such a master that I feel like I'm watching a movie when I read his books. I love the novella length (and must add that the way the publishers packaged/designed these novellas is so aesthetically pleasing that I want them all) but would have gladly continued reading. Of course I'd have liked the political plot to be developed more. Great and sometimes jarring read. ...more
Melville House Publishing
This beautifully packaged series of classic novellas includes the works of Anton Chekhov, Colette, Henry James, Herman Melville, and Leo Tolstoy. These collectible editions are the first single-volume publications of these classic tales, offering a closer look at this underappreciated literary form and providing a fresh take on the world's most celebrated authors. ...more
Another great novella from Melville House. The story takes place on May Day just after WW I and revolves around several archetypal characters of the era - society girl, Ivy Leaguer, radical, soldier, etc. they converge in interesting ways on a fateful day.
Aug 26, 2021 added it
An interesting read for my literature in the 20th-century class.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, cynical and terrible portrait of the post WW1 New York. A delight.
Warren Hall
Apr 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
One of Fitzgerald's most overtly political stories, May Day contrasts wealthy decadence with degradation of society.

This contrast is exemplified best by the ending, where two men (Phillip and Peter) have become so drunk that all things outside their companionship and further pleasure-seeking become as nothing, where their identifies have been striped away, and their ability to help other (like Gordon) is annihilated. They are amoral pleasure-hounds. Phillip Dean wanted this: he wanted to keep m
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fitzgerald is the master of painting an American age and a segment within it - New York Socialites - WWI fading in the background, its aftershocks - "soljas" drifting through the streets in implacable outrage, a divide between the moneyed few who were able to dodge and those who paid another price, and where there was a "radiant feast of spirits... long walls of alternating bottles set along two white covered tables; whiskey, gin, brandy, French and Italia
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set right after WWI, on May Day, we a have handful of main characters. Some characters just want to have fun and some are in need of something. This is an amusing short story with drunken antics and political drama as this is set during one of the times of great political turmoil. The drunken moments between Dean and Peter is funny, though it probably shouldn't be. The story gives a glimpse into different political thinking at the time when people were dealing with the aftermath of a war and a l ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
such a shock, I didn't expect this to have so many interesting ideas by way of structure (moving between characters) and to have such a political angle. Great short read and a slice of insight into the political and moral issues of this time - and an easy extrapolation to our own. It has these great fragmentary moments too of large crowds and drunken chaos, from street fights to Yale club dances. Fitzgerald knew he was on to something and it would get refined but this is a great early depiction ...more
Charles Northey
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had always been a bit wary of Fitzgerald's short stories; a bit too long, a bit too wordy and a bit too dated- thank god I got over that! This story is by turns funny, tragic, critical and caustic. If you want to put a wry smile on a beautiful day read this- but read with caution because it could leave scars on you outlook and soul. ...more
Beatnik Kid
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book actually contains 3 stories: May Day, The Lees of Happiness, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Although I am rather fond of the latter, it unfortunately does not outweigh my rather dissatisfied impression of the whole book. Dark, oppressive and gloomy, full of unnecessary sacrifices, with an occasional hint of sunshine and Daisies, though.
Sergio Calderón
Oct 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Researchers on Lost Generation
I bet Fitzgerald wrote this short novel while he was drinking an entire bottle of bad liquor. Characters seems like all the same. However, this is the first Fitzgerald's ambitious project ever. He tried, at least his narrative improved with this exercise. ...more
Miz Bent
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't know if it's because I've just come off a protracted deep dive into Capote, and his brilliance is still blinding; but this current foray into F scott F's short stories, just isn't cutting it. Sorry. ( Don't hate me). ...more
Nov 02, 2021 rated it liked it
It reads like a movie. Like watching a disaster in slow motion. Very well written with regards to rich characters and settings. Very poorly written (and extremely classist) with regards to the poor characters. Hm, I wonder why...
Hana Mizuta
May 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun quick read, captures chaos well. Impressive how Fitzgerald is able to navigate two narratives at once and hop between the two so seamlessly.

Don’t know when or where I got this book but it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for literally years
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled "Lost Generation," Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfini ...more

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