Sunday, August 30, 2009
Tender is the Night
I was so moved by The Great Gatsby, I became curious about Fitzgerald's other works. I found this to be a very different book. While action is what primarily moves us through Gatsby, the pace here, and what moves the story, is very different indeed. And I have to admit, I found it pretty disappointing. I was very involved in Part I, where a young movie starlet falls in love with a psychoanalyst. But in Part II, everything changes -- no longer is the story told from the point of the view of the starlet, but instead from that of the psychoanalyst, and it turns into an extended flashback about his relationship with his wife, which is extremely strange, and to my taste, fairly dull. So, in short, this turns from a sparkling story of a love triangle into a kind of depressing story about a mid-life crisis. Apparently, Fitzgerald wrote it while his wife was hospitalized for schizophrenia, and I have to almost wonder if he wrote Part I before that happened, and wrote the rest after, for there is little in the beginning that even touches on psychology, and the rest of the book deals with it obsessively. And, in fact, checking wikipedia, something like that seems to be exactly what happened. I guess there's a cruel irony here -- Zelda's real life schizophrenia rendered this book schizophrenic as well.