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This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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6,03946690 (3.61)1 / 131
  1. 00
    The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Young men coming of age in different eras of 20th Century America.

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An exquisitely written book, as a first book, Mr. Fitzgerald has his prose at a high level. Slightly autobiographical, it offers interesting insight into the author, and bears comparison with The Great Gatsby, for the same themes. The original poetry in the book is quite good too. ( )
  charlie68 | Sep 3, 2015 |
It is a joy to begin a book which has been around for some time and you finally begin to read it and marvel at the beauty of the authors gift. How many times has FSF been called the greatest writer of the 20th century? For me there is no argument. The absolute beauty of the english language undwr his pen is enough to bring tears to ones eyes. His descriptions, his euphemisms, his ability to make unsympathetic characters human is without equal. This is his first novel and a thinly veiled autobiography of his experiences as a young man. And as a young man he thinks as a young man. I wish he had written 40 books instead of 4. But maybe the beautiful prose was meant for only a few and perhaps would have been diluted if there were more. But must admit the book changed tempo after his college experience at Princeton. Did not enjoy the end of the book as much as the first 2/3. ( )
  Alphawoman | Jun 10, 2015 |
The life of Amory Blaine, a romantic, dreamy boy, who pursues friends on his intellectual level, girls who will break his heart, and literary idols who inspire him.
The only child of a dramatic mother and a father who leaves little impression, Amory was molded into a precocious boy who believes himself better than his classmates, which makes it hard for him at school until he proves himself to be a good athlete. This transition earns him the title of "eccentric", which deflects from the boy's truer nature, which is snobbery. Making friends, attending Princeton, falling in love, serving in WWI and having low-paying work cause Amory to develop a less idealistic view of himself. ( )
  mstrust | May 12, 2015 |
I kept thinking: "this is pretty good for a 22 year old." I also kept thinking: "this book would never have been published today." I'm not asserting that as a truth about the book. I'm just saying I kept thinking it.

On almost every page I felt reminded that this novel was written by a young writer, someone who hadn't figured out quite how to pace a novel, or how to focus his themes, or how to deal with dramatic scenes without either short-changing them or turning them into bathos. World War I as narrative summary called "Interlude?" I don't care if Fitzgerald hadn't actually been to war--neither had Stephen Crane. Also the different structural choices and narrative voices from one section to the next don't feel like an author with mastery over the material, or an author making conscious choices. They feel like the author doesn't know what he is doing yet.

Almost because the book was such a startling mess to me, I loved the detail in the novel about Amory's reading habits. Throughout the book Fitzgerald assumes that a list of authors' names will telegraph to his readers Amory's current state of mind and maturity. Here is an example:

"He read enormously every night—Shaw, Chesterton, Barrie, Pinero, Yeats, Synge, Ernest Dowson, Arthur Symons, Keats, Sudermann, Robert Hugh Benson, the Savoy Operas—just a heterogeneous mixture, for he suddenly discovered that he had read nothing for years."

Of course these passing mentions of authors, some referred to just by last name because they were so well-known back then, can't have the same effect now as they did when Fitzgerald wrote the novel. Many of these authors are out of print or rarely read. But the references to books and authors in This Side of Paradise served to remind me of the mystery of literary endurance, and this became the question that preoccupied me, while reading it: Why do some books stay popular for a few months or years, and others are read for generations? This Side Of Paradise itself is now part of that mystery. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
This book pretty much defines my college experience.

Except for the attending Princeton part.
And the not-being-a-hot-dude part.
And I didn't fight in WWI either.

okay, so maybe Amory Blaine and I are nothing alike, but we share the same sense of malaise and we're both drifting purposelessly through life.

behold: the power of literature! ( )
  megantron | Jan 2, 2015 |
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"it bears the impress, it seems to me, of genius. It is the only adequate study that we have had of the contemporary American in adolescence and young manhood."
added by GYKM | editChicago Tribune, Burton Rascoe
"The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. . . The whole story is disconnected, more or less, but loses none of its charm on that account. It could have been written only by an artist who knows how to balance his values, plus a delightful literary style."
added by GYKM | editNew York Times (May 9, 1920)
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. . . Well this side of Paradise! . . .
There's little comfort in the wise.
---Rupert Brooks

Experience is the name so many people give to their mistakes.
---Oscar Wilde
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Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684843781, Paperback)

Fitzgerald's first novel, reprinted in the handsome Everyman's Library series of literary classic, uses numerous formal experiments to tell the story of Amory Blaine, as he grows up during the crazy years following the First World War. It also contains a new introduction by Craig Raine that describes critical and popular reception of the book when it came out in 1920.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:35 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

This classic novel, first published in 1920, tells the story of Amory Blaine's moral education and sexual awakening, brilliantly capturing the rhythms of postwar America and the spirit of a generation dedicated to the pursuit of excitement, sophistication, and success.… (more)

» see all 21 descriptions

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Average: (3.61)
0.5 4
1 20
1.5 5
2 63
2.5 22
3 244
3.5 65
4 304
4.5 21
5 158


14 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185570, 014119409X

The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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