Muse's Books (muse_books) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Muse's Books

Book 149: Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book 149: Tender is the Night.
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1933.
Genre: Modern Classic. Relationship Drama. Mental Illness. 1920s Europe.
Other Details: Paperback. 352 pages.

It is the French Riviera in the 1920s. Nicole and Dick Diver are a wealthy, elegant, magnetic couple. A coterie of admirers are drawn to them, none more so than the blooming young starlet Rosemary Hoyt. When Rosemary falls for Dick, the Diver's calculated perfection begins to crack. As dark truths emerge, Fitzgerald shows both the disintegration of a marriage and the failure of idealism. - synopsis from publisher's website.

As I read the opening scene in which Rosemary Hoyt first meets Nicole and Dick Diver and their entourage on the beach I realised that at some point in my past I had studied this novel. I'm still not sure whether it was while at school in my late teens or later on when taking adult education classes on literature but this sense of familiarity continued to haunt me throughout the novel as events unfolded. Now writing this up I am pretty sure it was the latter circumstances, probably in the early 1980s.

On this reading I found it difficult at times to relate to its characters given their level of privilege and narcissism. However, I could appreciate why the novel is considered a modern classic, even if a flawed one, given its portrayal of addiction, mental illness and the disintegration of an already flawed marriage.

I noted that one iconic scene in the novel had been referenced in Deborah Levy's Swimming Home, which dealt with similar themes including the breakdown of a marriage, mental illness and was also set on the French Rivera.
Tags: addiction, mental health, modern classic, period fiction (20th century)

  • Book #14: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

    North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book opens with the heroine, Margaret Hale, being uprooted from her idyllic…

  • December 2020 - Books 71 to 76

    71. Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park A young mixed-race girl moves with her widowed father to a fledgling South Dakota town in 1880. This is the…

  • Book 28 - 2019

    Book 28: The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber - 287 pages Description from For almost four years, men came to my cabin…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 1 comment