Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sometimes it’s interesting to come in at the end. This is the first book I’ve read by Fitzgerald and the last novel he completed. I’m aware of his others but I’ve never read them. I wonder if I should write something apologetic about that but I’m not apologetic, not in the slightest. Sometimes you get to the big books, the big authors, when you get to them and sometimes you don’t and that’s all fine.

And so to Tender Is The Night which is, every now and then, remarkable. It’s acute and sharp and beautifully written, achingly so. The talent of Fitzgerald is inescapable. There’s a bit at the start where he writes about two characters walking to somewhere, together, and it’s so simply and brilliantly done that I stopped in my literary tracks to savour it.

I’d like to say that sentiment continued but it didn’t. This took me a long, long time to read because (essentially) not much happens. Everybody is happy and then unhappy, fulfilled and then unfulfilled, hot and then not hot, and throughout it all is a man coming to terms with the fact that he’s kind of messed it all up. I wasn’t surprised to read about the personal circumstances around its publication. There’s an immense, aching sadness to this.

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