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Fri, Feb. 3rd, 2006, 01:47 am
Reading List: The Beautiful and Damned

Read: The Beautiful and Damned, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Help! I’m reading faster than I’m reviewing!

I generally like Fitzgerald, but I also generally find his work rather puzzling. His characters are all coming apart at the seams in unfamiliar ways. I don’t understand, in my gut, the reasons why Anthony and Gloria flame out (both together and separately). I try to identify with the characters, and it’s a mark of Fitzgerald’s genius that I’m able to at all - but I’m left with the feeling that these are people I would neither like nor respect if they were in my own life. I just want to smack them a good one.

That said, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch how he handles painting their world. He makes the values of their world come alive, and with just a few strokes creates the types that people of their class, in their time, would have to deal with. The careful details of the Patches’ slide into “poor company” are worth the price of buying the book all by themselves. Each step down the social scale, you feel, was carefully calculated by Fitzgerald and yet still seems totally inevitable given Anthony, Gloria, and what they do to one another.