F. Scott Fizgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their traumatic marriage and her subsequent breakdowns became the leading influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work). Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940.
These sumptuous new hardback editions mark the 70th anniversary of Fitzgerald's death. Anthony and Gloria are the essence of Jazz Age glamour. A brilliant and magnetic couple, they fling themselves at life with an energy that is thrilling. New York is a playground where they dance and drink for days on end. Their marriage is a passionate theatrical performance; they are young, rich, alive and lovely and they intend to inherit the earth. But as money becomes tight, their marriage becomes impossible. And with their inheritance still distant, Anthony and Gloria must grow up and face reality; they may be beautiful but they are also damned.
October 2011 Guest Editor Philippa Gregory on F. Scott Fitzgerald... I have just re-read this and constantly admired the economy of Fitzgerald. He can write poignant paragraphs that come out of almost nothing, as a reader you can hardly tell what he is doing, but you emerge from the novel feeling emotionally wrung. It’s the story of the most glamorous couple on the French Riviera, and slowly you understand that much of their beauty is a façade, and that even their passion is something that will pass. It is loosely based on Fitzgerald’s own marriage to Zelda who is an interesting character in her own right and too often “written off” by biographers as the unstable wife to a genius. As this novel hints, perhaps it was far more complicated and interesting than that.
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