Tender is the Night

In the course of two days I read more than I anticipated and have rather unexpectedly finished Fitzgerald’s book. I confess that I approached the novel with a certain hesitance, as I do toward all classic writers. But Fitzgerald has managed to enrapture me with his lyricism, his beautiful storytelling and his moving plot.

While the book takes a while to come into its own with Rosemary seeming to be the central character at the start, it is easy to see how this was necessary to set the stage for the real story of Dick and Nicole to be told effectively. The gradual downfall of Dick is heartbreaking, especially the widening rift between him and Nicole. It honestly wrenched my heart to read the final chapters of the novel. However the ending was not entirely desolate for Dick which I felt was welcome, since it could be said that Dick did not really deserve to be utterly destroyed. He had set out to devote his life to curing Nicole, and although it caused his downfall in the end, he had ultimately succeeded. So perhaps it is appropriate that he regained some of his composure, calm, and charisma toward the end, even if he had exchanged his status, family and friends for a heart full of regrets.

Plot aside, Fitzgerald’s writing is just enthralling. I understand what Mark meant when he said that sometimes his lyricism was all that kept him going in reading Gatsby. And I relate. Ofttimes when I wasn’t really sure where the story was going or even what was exactly happening at the time, I was just enjoying his writing for what it was. It makes one feel woefully inadequate and in awe simultaneously.

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