Tender Is the Night, A Romance

Tender Is the Night, A Romance

Book - 1951
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a friend's copy of Tender Is the Night, "If you liked The Great Gatsby, for God's sake read this. Gatsby was a tour de force but this is a confession of faith." Set in the South of France in the decade after World War I, Tender Is the Night is the story of a brilliant and magnetic psychiatrist named Dick Diver; the bewitching, wealthy, and dangerously unstable mental patient, Nicole, who becomes his wife; and the beautiful, harrowing ten-year pas de deux they act out along the border between sanity and madness. In Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald deliberately set out to write the most ambitious and far-reaching novel of his career, experimenting radically with narrative conventions of chronology and point of view and drawing on early breakthroughs in psychiatry to enrich his account of the makeup and breakdown of character and culture. Tender Is the Night is also the most intensely, even painfully, autobiographical of Fitzgerald's novels; it smolders with a dark, bitter vitality because it is so utterly true. This account of a caring man who disintegrates under the twin strains of his wife's derangement and a lifestyle that gnaws away at his sense of moral values offers an authorial cri de coeur, while Dick Diver's downward spiral into alcoholic dissolution is an eerie portent of Fitzgerald's own fate. F. Scott Fitzgerald literally put his soul into Tender Is the Night, and the novel's lack of commercial success upon its initial publication in 1934 shattered him. He would die six years later without having published another novel, and without knowing that Tender Is the Night would come to be seen as perhaps its author's most poignant masterpiece. In Mabel Dodge Luhan's words, it raised him to the heights of "a modern Orpheus."
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 1951.
ISBN: 9780684717630
Characteristics: 315 p. ;,21 cm.


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Oct 19, 2017

Set against the backdrop of Europe during the Roaring Twenties, Tender is the Night features the glamorous life of Dick and Nicole Diver, a young American couple. Fitzgerald has beautifully described the inner qualities and conflicts of characters from the third person perspective. Primarily, the story is about the transformation of Dick, as from a charming and ambitious psychiatrist whose politeness and graciousness are favoured by others, he turns into a man who can no longer live up to his professional and personal standards. His moral dissolution and diminishing vitality are illustrated in a way that is both effective and emotionally charged. Fitzgerald’s work on this book is admirable; the vivid descriptions of the settings and relationships are true examples of classic literature. 4/5 Stars
- @VirtueofReading of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jun 01, 2016

Fitzgerald writes period pieces; this one is too much with a European scene which is unknowable to an average American reader such as I; thus it is a fine story, well-written, in lovely prose, but without the intimacy of Gatsby which is an American period piece, and much more to my liking.

Sep 29, 2015

The writing is excellent. The plotting a little uneven. But still a classic, if only to peer inside Mr. Fitzgerald's head. The characters have a lot in common with the author.

Jul 20, 2013

Rising starlet Rosemary Hoyt arrives at the French Riviera in the roaring twenties and becomes enamored with charismatic psychiatrist Dick Diver and his troubled heiress wife, Nicole. Reading this was infuriating. Were it not for the redeeming quality of Fitzgerald’s exquisite prose, I would have given up within 100 pages. The execution was terrible! Fantastic writing wasted on fragmented storytelling! Don’t get me wrong, there was a substantial and intriguing story contained in the 300+ pages, but it was permeated with inconsequential drivel throughout. The drama highlights the psychology of expat American high society (though this isn’t apparent until book II, 100+ pages in!), specifically focusing on the impact of father figures and their influences on the neuroses of the characters. Read this novel with a deep reservoir of patience and lenience for poor editing.

bwortman Mar 28, 2013

First and foremost a character study, Tender Is the Night slowly reveals the inner-workings of Dick Diver over the course of several years, investigating how an intelligent and ambitious man ended up in a relationship in which he feels he is slowly losing his independence. However, surrounding the melancholy tale of Dick, Fitzgerald beautifully describes several parts of Europe and the life of the idle rich American expats who lived there during the late 1920s. A read that is great not only to experience the skills of an author near the height of his brilliance but to empathetically observe Dick on his decline.

Aug 16, 2011

As much as I love The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night is Fitzgerald's true masterpiece. It is a haunting tale that most readers can more readily identify with.

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