Tender is the Night

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender is the Night. Read by George Guidall. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books, 1996.

Reason read: F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in September…

How many people remember this from their English lit days? Tender is the Night is a study in the push-pull of relationships at their strongest and weakest. Dick Diver is a wealthy psychiatrist who falls for the mentally unstable Nicole Warren. A doctor marrying a patient begins as a dance between crazy and sane. Both are wealthy, society driven people with magnetic, charming personalities. The French Riviera serves as the backdrop and Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Murphy serve as the inspiration for the the first half of Tender is the Night. Zurich, Switzerland and Fitzgerald’s relationship with his mentally ill wife, Zelda, help finish the rest of the story. Overall, it is a tragic display of how mental illness infects like a contagion, bringing down even the most solid of minds.

Lines I liked, “He had long been outside the world of simple desires and their fulfillments, and he was inept and uncertain” (p 206) and “Well, you never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives” (p 211).

Author fact: Fitzgerald was a Princeton graduate.

Book trivia: Tender is the Night bombed commercially. Just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by its sales. It’s now considered Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. Another piece of trivia: Tender is the Night was made into a 1962 film starring Jason Robards (who played Heidi’s grandfather in a much later movie).

Nancy said: Tender is the Night needs to be read with Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill and Living well is the Best Revenge by Calvin Tomkins.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the previously mentioned chapter called “Companion Reads” (p 45).

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