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This Side of Paradise

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,70266786 (3.59)1 / 158
Here is the accomplished first novel that catapulted Fitzgerald to literary fame at the age of 23. It follows the education--intellectual, spiritual, and sexual--of young Amory Blaine. Revised and repackaged.
  1. 10
    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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English (63)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
"I have known myself, but that is all."
Oh Amory, Amory Blaine, the poor, lost youth from the lost generation! Why do I still see you everywhere?

The book read more like an autobiography than a fiction - and I can only imagine how Fitzgerald felt while he wrote the book. His long speech about the upside-down system at the end was still so frighteningly relevant - that it makes me fearful of the future. Then again, a century has passed since then, and we are still here, making slow progress while paving the way with the lives of many. Maybe we will keep going ahead. Maybe the hopes and dreams that we sacrifice on the way today is the fuel for a shinier future. Maybe that's the curse humanity is forced to bear.

I know this review doesn't make much sense. It is not supposed to. I am writing down how reading this book has made me feel. ( )
  MahiShafiullah | May 25, 2020 |
This is F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel and it is VERY first novel-y, but still worth a read for understanding the development of Fitzgerald as an author and for some insight into Fitgerald's biography and times.

Amory Blaine is a privileged young man from a complicated family (distant father, impulsive and self-absorbed mother) who grows up on the continent, but is occasionally sent to live with relatives in Minneapolis when his mother has a breakdown. He goes on to attend Princeton, caring a great deal about how he does, what he does, and who he knows, but also caring a great deal not to seem like he cares about any of those things. He feels things deeply, but acts very shallowly. He has passionate love affairs (or at least goes through the motions of passion) with a series of women. He fights in WW1 and comes back home. He works in advertising, and then quits. All his love affairs end. He loses his fortune. He writes a lot of poetry. He drinks to excess, but is saved by prohibition. He admires some of his friends, but admires himself the most.

Fitzgerald was 23 when this book was published, and he wrote it (after graduating from Princeton and retreating to his family in St. Paul after a summer of heavy drinking) when Zelda (who later famously became his wife) broke up with him as a way to get famous and win her back. And it worked! The book itself, though, is uneven, almost painfully revealing, but also frequently funny, filled with witty turns of phrase, and (with the exception of some philosophical / political / literary criticism sections) very pleasant to read.

There is one scene that came out of nowhere and hit me really hard -- in fact I can't stop thinking about it. Amory is out with a friend and two girls they don't know well, drinking in New York. He sees a strange man looking at them in the bar and the girls suddenly suggest they all go back to their apartment to continue the evening. Amory hasn't had as much to drink as everyone else, and is feeling distant and uneasy, but goes along. Then at the apartment:

"Amory hesitated, glass in hand.

There was a minute while temptation crept over him like a warm wind, and his imagination turned to fire, and he took the glass from Phoebe's hand. That was all; for at the second that his decision came, he looked up and saw, then yards from him, the man who had been in the cafe, and with his jump of astonishment the glass fell from his uplifted hand. There the man half sat, half leaned against a pile of pillows on the corner divan. His face as cast in the same yellow wax as in the cafe, neither the dull, pasty color of a dead man -- rather a sort of virile pallor -- nor unhealthy, you'd have called it; but like a strong man who'd worked in a mine or done night shifts in a damp climate. Amory looked him over carefully and after he could have drawn him after a fashion, down to the merest details. His mouth was the kind that is called frank, and he had steady gray eyes that moved slowly from one to the other of their group, with just the shade of a questioning expression. Amory noticed his hands; they weren't fine at all, but they had versatility and a tenuous strength... they were nervous hands that sat lightly along the cushions and moved constantly with little jerky openings and closings. Then, suddenly, Amory perceived the feet, and with a rush of blood to the head he realized he was afraid. The feet were all wrong... with a sort of wrongness that he felt rather than knew... It was like weakness in a good woman, or blood on satin; one of those terrible incongruities that shake little things in the back of the brain. He wore no shoes, but, instead, a sort of half moccasin, pointed, though, like the shoes they wore in the fourteenth century, and with the little ends curling up. They were a darkish brown and his toes seemed to fill them to the end... They were unutterrably terrible..."

This scene continues and has a subtle, but important payoff towards the end of the book.

Probably not the place to start with Fitzgerald, but definitely worthwhile. ( )
  kristykay22 | May 10, 2020 |
Retrata la época del jazz y la profunda crisis de valores experimentada por la sociedad norteamericana a lo largo de los años veinte, que culminó con el crack económico de 1929.
  katherinevillar | Mar 24, 2020 |
F. Scott Fitzgerald is most famous for his stories about the 'flappers' and their flippant lifestyle during the Roaring Twenties. As the times were, those stories are light and flimsy. They made Fitzgerald famous and rich as he captured the spirit of the age like no other author. However, I personally prefer his earlier and later works, when he produced some meatier novels. «This Side of Paradise» is one of his first novels. Apparently, readers are divided on this novel: some people love it, while others hate it. The novel has some experimental characteristics, such as the use of stage play dialogues.

While I agree that the novel is at times a strain to read, other passages are adoring. Particularly, in the latter part of the novel one has the feeling that Fitzgerald is drawing a dividing line between the emerging literary scene and the Georgian authors. This development parallels the decline of the old world and the rise of America as the latest world of wealth. The first part of the novel is still rather appealing as a coming of age story, echoing the rebellious nature of Evelyn Waugh. Definitely an interesting book, but only if you are willing to mentally invest in it and see it's merit. ( )
  edwinbcn | Feb 18, 2020 |
a book that's impossible to put down; shows what a 21- to 23- year-old is capable of. full of feeling, yet unsentimental. I adored the unhappy ending and the sharp characterizations. ( )
  charlyk | Nov 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
"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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzgerald, F. ScottAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carson, Sharon G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
First words
Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Average: (3.59)
0.5 4
1 29
1.5 5
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2.5 25
3 295
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4.5 23
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141185570, 014119409X

Urban Romantics

2 editions of this book were published by Urban Romantics.

Editions: 190967673X, 1909676748

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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