Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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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."

About F. Scott Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1896, attended Princeton University, and published his first novel, This Side of Paradise, in 1920. That same year he married Zelda Sayre and the couple divided their time among New York, Paris, and the Riviera, becoming a part of the American expatriate circle that included Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos. Fitzgerald was a major new literary voice, and his masterpieces include The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. He died of a heart attack in 1940 at the age of forty-four, while working on The Love of the Last Tycoon. For his sharp social insight and breathtaking lyricism, Fitzgerald is known as one of the most important American writers of the twentieth century.
Published May 27, 2003 by Scribner. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, History. Fiction
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Kirkus Reviews

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Again an author who has built up a more or less established market, and his non appearance (in book form) over a period of several years, has stimulated interest in this first full length work since the publication of THE GREAT GATSBY.

Nov 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

The New York Times

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Even Fitzgerald was unhappy with the last section, later confiding that ''If I had one more crack at it cold sober I believe it might have made a great difference.'' But it remains a powerfully moving experience as it follows Dick Diver from the days when ''the world still dances'' to the time, o...

Oct 29 1985 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

The Guardian

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Scott Fitzgerald Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop On the 1920s Riviera the rich and hedonistic disport themselves, drawn by the brilliance and promise of D...

Apr 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

Publishers Weekly

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You can generally count on Naxos to produce superb audios of classics—but not this time.

Sep 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

The Washington Post

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Aug 07 2015 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

Suite 101

In Book III, Nicole grows irritated with Dick and then has an affair with an old friend, Tommy Barban, and she divorces Dick to marry him.

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night


It was a terrible thing – unlike pure heat, it held no promise of rural escape, but suggested only roads choked with the same foul asthma.’ He pays attention to everything, down to the smallest details, throwing in wonderful touches – such as a grotesque American diplomat wearing ‘a moustache ba...

May 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Tender Is the Night

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Katrina Bernardo

Katrina Bernardo 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list