Tender is the Night


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F. Scott Fitzgerald's last completed novel, Tender is the Night is edited by Arnold Goldman with an introduction and notes by Richard Godden in Penguin Modern Classics. Between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash the French Riviera was the stylish place for wealthy Americans to visit. Among the most fashionable are psychoanalyst Dick Diver and his wife Nicole, who hold court at their villa. Into their circle comes Rosemary Hoyt, a film star, who is instantly attracted to them, but understands little of the dark ...

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Nov 10, 2019

Fitzgerald's Tender Is The Night

F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1934 novel "Tender is the Night" is a story of part of America's "Lost Generation" in the period following WW I. Most of the story is set on the French Riviera in the 1920s with a large cast of wealthy, dissipated and idle Americans with little to do with themselves. The book tells of the fall of Dick Diver, a promising and idealistic young American psychiatrist. As an intern in Zurich, Dick had married a beautiful wealthy young American woman, Nichole Warren, who had been his patient. Nichole had severe and lasting psychiatric issues resulting from sexual abuse by her father. While on the Riviera, several years into the marriage, Dick is attracted to a callow 18-year old American movie actress, Rosemary Hoyt. Although he resists Rosemary's advances at the time, her memory stays with him. She and Dick have a brief affair a few years later. Dick ultimately sees her as shallow. By that time, his life has dissipated through drink, idleness, problems with Nichole, and the corrupting effect of Nichole's money. Nichole leaves Dick, and he returns to the States for a lonely, wasted life. It is all very sad.

The story is haunting, effectively organized, and well told. The opening scenes take place on the French Riviera with Dick seemingly at the height of his powers as a socialite and budding medical writer. After an extended opening, the story doubles back to Dick's life in Zurich and his fateful courtship of Nichole. We then witness Dick Diver's inexorable deterioration, alcoholism, and degeneracy, and the break-up of his marriage. The writing is eloquent and spare, with good characterizations of mostly unappealing people and pictures of places. Fitzgerald shows the rootlessness of a class of Americans after the Great War and the corrupting effects of money and idleness. Dick Diver's story, I thought, was sad and sentimental rather than tragic. There is little of the hero about him.

"Tender is the Night" is the story of wandering lives, lost innocence, and the waste of human potential. In some ways, the book reminded me of the writings of the Beats, following WW II. It is a 20th Century American book that rewards knowing.

Robin Friedman

linda ganger

Aug 1, 2013

oldie but goody

I haven't read this book for a while;but it never gets old. enjoy


Mar 10, 2009

the world that once was for some

This book tells the story of American psychologist Dick Diver and his wife, the wealthy but psychologically unstable Nicole. The setting is the small French coastal town of Tarmes, between the late 1920's and the early 1930's. The book portrays a rypical Fitzgerald fictional universe: wealthy, idle, sophisticated, and in many ways "troubled". The book also deals with the effect wealthy Americans had on Europe culture. If you like tales of the roaring 20's, I think you will like this book


Oct 9, 2007


This semi-autobiographical novel describes the struggles of Dick and Nicole Diver as they strive to keep their marriage together despite Nicole's increasingly devastating mental disorder. It's probably the most difficult to understand of Fitzgerald's works, but it is also one of his masterpieces. If you are interested in the "Lost Generation" writers, the Jazz Age, or mental disorders/their effects, you will probably love this book.

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