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This Side of Paradise (Penguin Hardback Classics) Hardcover – 4 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (4 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014119409X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141194097
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.7 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University which he left in 1917 to join the army. Fitzgerald was said to have epitomised the Jazz Age, an age inhabited by a generation he defined as 'grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'.

In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their destructive relationship and her subsequent mental breakdowns became a major influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and The Love of the Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work): six volumes of short stories and The Crack-Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces.

Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a "generation" ... he might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'


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Review

"As nearly perfect as such a work could be . . . The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. Amory, the romantic egotist, is essentially American." -"The New York Times" "[A] bravura display of literary promise . . . Fitzgerald's prose is capable of soaring like a violin, and of moving his readers with understated husky notes as well as with notes of piercing purity . . . Fitzgerald knew that glamour was bound to fail, that there is an ineradicable human instinct for it which is utterly mistaken." -from the Introduction by Craig Raine

Book Description

Fitzgerald's classic coming-of-age tale set against the turbulence of the early 20th century. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading some of these reviews has proven to be depressing - in the sense that everyone is focusing on the youthful 'flaws' of this novel. Perhaps it is not comparable in brilliance to Gatsby - but kids-Fitzgerald was a rarest of species-he was a literary genius and Gatsby was his masterpiece! 'This Side'...may have been his first attempt out but never the less a marvelous portrait of being young in the 20th Century. It's shameful that people constantly compare this story to Gatsby, his Sistine Chapel of novels. No, this is simply a terrific story - and it truly is. Amory Blaine is an exceedinlgy likeable protagonist(something all the 'young hip'writers of today seem to forget to have), his images are portraits and his prose are just beginning to blossom. Indeed, this a youthfully 'flawed' novel by a young genius - which still equals an excellent work of fiction. - Oh, and if one reads this book and does not like Amory Blaine, that someone either forgot what it was to be young - or simply doesn't want to be reminded. Ciao.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LittleMoon VINE VOICE on 5 April 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To fall in love with Fitzgerald at first sight start with The Great Gatsby; to fall slowly by degrees start with The Beautiful and Damned, then Tender is the Night; and if you've false-started here with This Side of Paradise, then you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. The novel, written as it was when Fitzgerald "didn't know how to plan or write a novel" is not representative of his brilliance. 5 years later Fitzgerald himself bemoaned its literary borrowings, "faked references and intellectual reactions" whilst praising its "enormous emotion". It is difficult for readers today to touch much except the novel's emotional life but to 1920s America it was a book of its time, one of the first to tap into the Jazz Age's jugular and spill the blood of a generation "grown up to find all gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken...."

Amory Blaine is our protagonist, young, handsome, male, convinced of his own potential for greatness and beset by the concomitant doubts of trying to realise this. It's this formula that we can all relate to (Princeton graduates and male readers in particular perhaps) of youth's vacillations between splendour and debacle; the freshness of first love; the negotiation of social status; the desperation to "be" someone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DGN on 16 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
As a growing Fitzgerald fan, this is the last of his work I have got around to reading and although I wouldn't say I had left the best till last, I was far more impressed than I expected. This was a great book and I will definitely be reading it again and again throughout my life. I decided on this particular version after being impressed with the Dead Dodo Kindle release of The Beautiful and Damned, and again, I couldn't fault the formatting, menus, etc. I recommend.
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Format: Paperback
This isn’t just another Bildungsroman: its opening sections make it almost the first example of the teenage novel, with classic features now found in YA: the 13-year-old kiss, the petting party (it’s even called that here), the categorising of your peers into types, the surface cynicism vying with long intense discussions, the notion of ‘the pose’, the desire to make a mark. It continues into the intense social competitiveness of university (Princeton), and then out into the disappointment and further struggle of the real world, where the successes of college are suddenly valueless.

Amory Blaine (amorous? amoral?), its hero, is well-off and very good-looking. He has a loving but haphazard mum; a distant dad; a friendship with an elderly priest who tries vainly to guide him towards Catholicism; and friends and girlfriends of varying sorts, each of who teaches him something else about himself. At the end, poor and single again, there’s a sense that he’s found a purpose in political commitment – but is this going to be yet another pose?

I thought it was a bit uneven: the kids’ attempts at smart talk go on a bit too long, when we’ve already got the point about their callowness. On the other hand, there are some amazing and powerful insights about youth. The style switches about: Amory’s and his friends’ student poems appear in full and whole sections are written like a play. But there’s something nevertheless winning and charming about the book, despite its faults; just like its protagonist.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Centered on the successive loves and relationships of Amory Blaine, this book - Like adolescence itself - is charming, exciting, unlikely, sexual, intelligent, disjointed, frustrating and inconclusive. But it's a great read.

I don't understand why this book isn't on every teenager's reading list in the way that `The Lost Estate' or `The Magus' seem to be. It's an almost perfect reproduction of what it is like to be an intelligent and activated teenager getting through school and university into the world at large. It's not universal, it deals with that section of society that is engaged with ideas first and emotions second but it is very penetrating.

Amory Blaine is a beautiful boy with high opinions of himself. He moves, though success at sport, from being a social outsider to the centre of a dazzling set at Princeton. His story is told through the relationships he has with five women - Beatrice, Isabel, Clara, Rosalind and Eleanor each of whom represent a different phase of his development and highlight a different part of his character. His mother, his college friends, his mentor Monsignor Darcy and the books he reads are the other elements that go to build Blaine's character over the course of the novel.

There is not a lot of plot, although there are births marriages and deaths, they don't really signify much as the driver of the book is Blaine's own search for himself. This is the key to it's success since it echoes the angst, self doubt, half baked ideas, sexual awakening, overconfidence, energy and braggadocio typical of interesting male teenagers. Blaine is well worth spending time with but it's hard to know what he is for - he doesn't know himself - he could be exceptional, or could be a bum and the reader still doesn't know at the end of the novel.
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