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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: And Six…
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: And Six Other Stories (Penguin Modern…

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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'A master of the American short story'
By sally tarbox on 19 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
Absolutely brilliant writing: Fitzgerald seizes your total interest from the first sentence of each story.
For me, the most insightful parts were the author's observations on growing old and how we fool ourselves in 'The Russet Witch'. When Merlin sticks with a tedious job in a bookshop all his life, and follows the expected path of marriage and family, ending up as manager on $50 a week:
'Looking back, he saw his own progress toward this hill of elation no longer as a sometimes sordid and always gray decade of worry and failing enthusiasm and failing dreams, years when the moonlight had grown duller in the areaway and the youth had faded out of Olive's face, but as a glorious and triumphant climb over obstacles which he had determinedly surmounted by unconquerable willpower...Half a dozen times he had taken steps to leave...and soar upward, but through sheer faint-heartedness he had stayed on. Strangely enough he now thought that those were times when he had exerted tremendous persistence and had 'determined' to fight it out where he was.' ( )
  starbox | Jul 10, 2016 |
The Penguin Modern Classics edition of The curious case of Benjamin Button, and six other stories is a collection of short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald. "Head and Shoulders", "The Cut-Glass Bowl" and "The Four Fists" are taken from Flappers and Philosophers (1920), while "The curious case of Benjamin Button", "May Day" and "O Russet Witch" are taken from Tales of the Jazz Age (1922). To these is added the uncollected short story "Crazy Sunday", which was first published in 1932.

This was a partial reread, as I had already read "The curious case of Benjamin Button" and Flappers and Philosophers. I was merely interested in "O Russet Witch" and "Crazy Sunday".

"O Russet Witch" is a short story, but tries to tell a life-time history, so it is a bit peculiar that the frivolous young man and woman at the beginning of the story meet again at the end with wrinkled faces, forty years on in their lives. The story reads more like a synopsis for a novel, but even then would probably not be substantial enough. However, the message of "O Russet Witch" seems a bit top-heavy and with its moral lesson it stands out as a rather odd tale among the other more frivolous short stories. Then, since the setting of "O Russet Witch" is a book shop, quaintly appropriate as most of F. Scott Fitzgerald's stories seem to be set in places where the jet-set whiles away its time, some book lovers might find this story interesting.

Said to be characteristic of the Roaring Twenties, the short stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald are very well-written, but rather lacking in substance. ( )
  edwinbcn | Jan 8, 2014 |
I originally bought this book because I recalled that there had been a movie made of the title story and I was interested to see how a short story could be made into an entire film. I’m still not really sure on that account, because I haven’t seen the movie of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button! (Although I would like to see Brad Pitt getting younger). The title story is probably the best in this collection of short stories, as it takes an unusual event (a baby being born old and getting younger as he ages) and explores the various problems (social murmurs, sons being embarrassed of their fathers etc.).

The other stories in this book I didn’t find quite as memorable, although they all have the common Fitzgerald element of sadness running through them. Fitzgerald is still as sharp as ever, cutting to the quick the problems of society, such as appearance (much is made of what people will think about Benjamin Button and indeed, he is hidden or explained as another relative to many people). Benjamin’s son is horrified that his father wants to go to college (being rejected as an old man when he is the ‘correct’ age) and the baby Benjamin is often hidden out of sight.

There has been suggestion that the story looks at the before and after effects of returned servicemen from World War I – looking young, but being internally old due to what they went through. I’m not really into analysis, but it’s an interesting idea.

The other short stories…well, it was interesting to read them but they didn’t have the original idea of Benjamin Button. There are callous relationships, partying and deep sadness, much like The Beautiful and Damned. Good to read if you like Fitzgerald and want to read everything he ever wrote, but not a necessity. It was a good way to pass time on public transport though!

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com
  birdsam0610 | Jun 19, 2012 |
I’ve seen the film of this story twice, and never really felt much affinity with it, and now I’ve read the book I realise that this is simply down to the fact that the original story doesn’t particularly lend itself to being made into a film. Fitzgerald has a certain flair that needs to be read, or at least not mangled slightly, projected onto the silver screen, and dressed up with bells, whistles and Brad Pitt. It worked much better in my own imagination. The other stories were equally well-written, happily, and overall it was a great little read. ( )
  pokarekareana | Dec 26, 2010 |
Brilliant, pure Fitzgerald. Benjamin Button is the least of the stories. Also included are Head and Shoulders, The Cut-Glass Bowl, The Four Fists, May Day, O Russet Witch and Crazy Sunday.
There's strong characterisation, and pure Fitzgerald pathos. ( )
  TownsvilleLib | Apr 3, 2010 |
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