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May Day

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,228 ratings  ·  99 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.
Paperback, 68 pages
Published June 30th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1920)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  1,228 ratings  ·  99 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.
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
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
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
Sidik Fofana
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SIX WORD REVIEW: So that's why he is famous...
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,
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
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.
Alice Lippart
A short and interesting story
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
Benjamin Stahl
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
In the writer's words, a "somewhat unpleasant tale". May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald takes the reader to New York city in the aftermath of the Great War. Returned soldiers are running rampant on the streets, drinking, rioting, chasing down "pro-German" socialists, generally causing havoc. Jumping spasmodically between characters in a way that actually reminded me of Ulysses, only it was more readable, Fitzgerald provides as intoxicating collage of zany experiences during a quite unique time in hi ...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.
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.
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).

Packs a punch!
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kupgriye107 Bonbon
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and sad
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, classics
Novella. Class conflict between rich college students, returning soldiers, and socialist journalists. Beauty and despair. Haunting.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Another novella in the Melville House novella series, "May Day" is rather different from "Parnassus on Wheels." The opening couple of pages are an excellent bit of bitter fantasy:

But no one listened to their great outcry, for the throngs were far too busy--day by day, the foot-soldiers trod jauntily the highway and all exulted because the young men returning were pure and brave, sound of tooth and pink of cheek, and the young women of the land were virgins and comely both of face and of figure
Nicola Mansfield
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: I've decided to try the club for 6 months and plan to read the two selections, the month following their arrival. Hence this is my January read.

I've read several of Fitzgerald's novels and short stories and find him an interesting author. This title was new for me and I looked forward to reading it. The story is explained as a sample of American class systems but I'm not sure I agree with that. Class structure doesn't really exist in America the same way it does in Britain wh
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say, F. Scott Fitzgerald is just so relaxing to read. There is something mesmerizing about his writing. The same goes for Ernest Hemingway. But both of them can just write about the most innocuous things, yet I will voraciously read it, speedily I might add, and thoroughly enjoy it. Yet after it being read, I realize I only just read about a couple guys talking about everyday things doing everyday stuff, nothing exciting. Yet Fitzgerald makes it engrossing. The flow of the conversatio ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was struck as I read this story by its similarity to the writing of J.D. Salinger, and the ending to May Day only confirmed the resemblance, partiularly to Salinger's early post-war story A Perfect Day for Bananafish.
Though the different storylines in May Day run around each other in a fairly confusing fashion at first, they come together in climactic conjunction around halfway through the story. The second half of the story is pretty sparse writing, more in the style of Hemingway, Ernest, bu
Jan 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for school. A story very representative of post-WWI, early '20s America, featuring a variety of characters including former soldiers in search of liquor, a desperate boy in need of help, a vile young girl demanding money, a flapper bouncing from boy to boy, and the completely hammered Mr. In and Mr. Out. Around 50 pages long, the story switches between perspectives, which makes it move faster than most of Fitzgerald's shorter works. There is lots of slang and each character, though only int ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Being a sincere admirer of Fitzgerald , I am pained to say that this story didn't really live up to my expectations , and on the contrary, left me somewhat disappointed with the abrupt and dramatic ending . I could see glimpses of the beautiful author that he was to become in the later years here and there in this novella , but could not really feel for the characters much . I was much intrigued by the premise of this novel , and the first chapter gave me much promise of another beautifully haun ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
F. Scott Fitzgerald has arrived, folks. And I don't think he has any intention of leaving. "May Day" was superb in just about every way a literary piece should be; beautiful language, clear tone and effective yet concise character development. At times, I thought it would make a good stage presentation; with the intermingling of characters who didn't always have the same level of relations with one another but were caught together in a web by hidden links. Each character presented a particular a ...more
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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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