Thursday, March 10, 2016


F. Scott Fitzgerald
1933, 1934

Ms. Hen decided to read this because she had read the novel Z recently, about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda. It made her curious to read more books by Fitzgerald, especially this novel, the one he wrote about her while she was in the psychiatric hospital in Switzerland.

Ms. Hen had read that TENDER IS THE NIGHT is supposed to be his greatest novel, and Ms. Hen understands why. She enjoyed it more than she did THE GREAT GATSBY. She thought THE GREAT GATSBY is nothing but debauchery, about rich people behaving badly. There is some misbehaving in TENDER IS THE NIGHT, but Ms. Hen thinks that the characters are more sympathetic in this novel.

This is the story of a married couple, Dick and Nicole, who have a house on the French Riviera, but their happiness is disrupted when a young American actress, Rosemary, sets her sights on Dick. Rosemary is young and innocent, and knows nothing of love. Dick turns her down, and she retreats.

Some of the novel takes place in Paris, which Ms. Hen loved. She thought this novel did a better job of describing Paris in the 1920s than Zelda did. The writing in this novel is exquisite. The way things are described are so unique than Ms. Hen had to step back a few times, and think, what was that? She can understand why Fitzgerald is known as one of the greatest writers of his generation.

After Rosemary goes back to America, the novel travels back in time to when Dick and Nicole first met. She is a patient in the sanitarium where he works, and she takes a fancy to him and wants him to pay attention to her. He thinks she is beautiful, but he knows she is unstable. They get married and he takes care of her, and she takes care of him with her wealth.

Ms. Hen loved this novel, but her feelings about it are different from her feelings about other novels, because she felt she could completely relate to Nicole. She understood the characters of Nicole and Zelda better than she did when she read Z. She felt as if she could have been Nicole in a different life, if she had lived in another time and had other circumstances. It’s not often that someone reads a novel and thinks that she could have been one of the characters. Fitzgerald creates a world similar to the one in which he lived with his wife, and he brings it to life in such a way that Ms. Hen, and possibly others, can relate to this world so well, that Ms. Hen can completely swim inside of it and lose herself and become someone else.

There are no words to describe how much Ms. Hen loved reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT. She wished it didn’t have to end, but was sad when it did. All books have to end, as everything does. It makes Ms. Hen sad that F. Scott Fitzgerald died so young. Ms. Hen enjoyed living in TENDER IS THE NIGHT for a short time.

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