donderdag 30 april 2015

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Beautiful and Damned


This review is about the second novel in the book; ‘The Beautiful and Damned’.
This specific novel has 343 pages.
You can find all my F. Scott Fitzgerald reviews here.

"The Beautiful and Damned tells the story of Anthony Patch (a 1920s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon's fortune), his relationship with his wife Gloria, his service in the army, and alcoholism. The novel provides an excellent portrait of the Eastern elite as the Jazz Age begins its ascent, engulfing all classes into what will soon be known as Café Society. As with all of his other novels, it is a brilliant character study and is also an early account of the complexities of marriage and intimacy that were further explored in "Tender Is the Night." The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.”

I feel quite the same about this novel as I did about ‘This Side of Paradise’. It could be the reason why they are in the same book.

This novel is just a story about a couple whose lives are filled with waste and decay. They are waiting for his grandfather to die to get their inheritance and fill their life with even more parties and other forms of pleasure.

Both Anthony and Gloria are unlikable characters and that’s why I honestly didn’t care about them, the novel and its progress. They are selfish, useless, banal, vain, haughty, impatient, lazy, and proud and they just generally lack any form of empathy. Furthermore, there’s no evolution in their characters. There’s an evolution in their relationship (no one didn’t see that coming the moment they married) but not in their characters, not really at least.
But it is quite fascinating to read about their downfall and their inability to try and change anything about it.
And it is impossible to feel any kind of sympathy for Gloria and Anthony as they “struggle” to survive.
The drama is too much for me. I can’t stand the constant whining of Gloria, their feeling of superiority, their banality, their arguments and, well, generally, the drama.

Again, there are moments of beautiful prose, but it’s not engaging or unforgettable. I really do feel like this author is a bit overrated.
This is a story told to us through long descriptions and little (inner) dialogue. To me, it didn’t feel like a reading experience. Someone could read this to me and I’d feel just the same; not absorbed at all.
But it is easy to read and the characters are skilfully painted.

See you tomorrow for my Wrap Up!