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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once read, never forgotten...
Thought provoking and brilliantly written “Tender is the Night” etches itself into your brain: once read, never forgotten. Longer, looser but more complex and much darker in its subject matter than “The Great Gatsby”, Scott Fitzgerald similarly transcends time & place to leave you with quite unforgettable images. For example, describing an open-air...
Published on 8 Jan. 2004 by nicjaytee

91 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT READ THIS PENGUIN VERSION- unless you want the re-ordered chronological version, not Fitzgerald's 1934 original
Penguin make much of the fact that there were seventeen versions of Tender is the Night; this is to justify the fact which they don't tell you- this green-jacketed version is completely different to the 1934 version. That was told in flashbacks; this version was re-ordered chronologically after Fitzgerald's death by friend and critic Malcolm Cowley.

Do not read...
Published on 7 April 2009 by Mr. J. G. Nixon

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense, Dark, Psychological Novel, 9 Sept. 2012
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
There are two editions of Tender is the Night in print, the original in which much is told in flashback, and a revised edition with a more linear structure. This review is based on the latter version.

Tender is the Night is the story of the marriage of Dick and Nicole Diver, rich Americans living in Europe in the 20s. Once you get past the male lead's name which to the modern ear sounds like a 70s porn star, this is a fascinating if flawed book.

It is written in five episodes. The first introduces us to psychiatric Doctor, Dick Diver. An American in Europe after the Great War who falls in love with and marries beautiful, rich but troubled patient Nicole. Through the rest of the book we see them and their children living a glamorous but shallow life in the primarily expatriate community on the Mediterranean coast and around Europe.

It is a privileged but fragile existence. Initially it seems that the major threat to their marriage is Nicole's latent madness, but as the novel progresses we learn more about Dick's weakness and inconstancy, professionally, personally and emotionally.

Tender is the Night is a dark and complex tale, on the cusp between the classical and modern novel, but very much in the latter camp. At times, while living in an outwardly brilliant and luxurious world, it feels like we are lost in a dense mental and emotional jungle. Minor events carry dark psychological threat, horrific violence randomly interrupts civilised society, Half-hearted duels are fought to escape the ennui of privileged existence. Above all to me it seemed a book which could only have been written in a world influenced by Sigmund Freud, right from the very first section where we learn of Nicole's abuse at the hands of her father, from which she escapes into the arms of another (at least initially) father figure, Dick.

The fascinating centre of the novel is Dr Diver. At first he seems brilliant, principled, charismatic, but as the novel progresses we see that he has too much, too far, too soon. The world comes too easily to him, and rather than building on his fortune, he is revealed as a weak dilettante, indulging in serial adultery , and lacking the professional focus for a successful career. In the end it is his, rather than her weakness which is the greatest threat to the marriage, although ironically she is eventually freed from her mental difficulties only when she mirrors his behaviour

Some of the physical descriptive writing is breathtaking. An outdoor dinner party early in the novel, shimmers on the page, with the reader almost able to hear the cicadas chirping in the background.

Tender is the Night can be at times be a difficult novel, Fitzgerald sometimes seems to be wilfully obtuse. On other occasions the writing is unnecessarily verbose (never use one word where six will do). However, its virtues far outweigh its faults and for me it falls into the category of books whoich are deeply rewarding if you stick with them.

One final point of interest to note is the somewhat fractured style of the book, which could be seen both as reflecting the underlying madness, but also being indicative of the influence of the early cinema on the author.

So, highly recommended, if you aren't looking for a light, easy, read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and heartbreaking, 28 Nov. 2011
J. Willis (London) - See all my reviews
I have great pleasure in saying that not only can I understand why Tender Is the Night is considered a great book but also the author F. Scott Fitzgerald. In fact I now know what to go and read; Fitzgerald's other novels. perhaps I shouldn't have started with Tender Is the Night and can now only be disappointed?

The book is first told from Rosemary Hoyt's point of view. Rosemary, a young movie star, comes across Dick and Nicole Diver who live a rather lavish life in the French Rivera and she immediately falls in love with this golden couple. Rosemary follows Dick and Nicole firstly around the French Rivera and then around Paris. She sees first hand how this couple seem to captivate everyone around them, the parties and the close circle of friends all pivoting around Dick Diver. Dick the object of Rosemary's affections seems to have a unique seductive charm which seems to enthral everyone who meets him.

The second part is then told from Dick's point of view and takes place a few years on after Rosemary has left. We learn that Dick married Nicole after meeting her in a clinic where she was being treated for schizophrenia brought on by an incestuous relationship with her father. Years have gone by and Dick who used to be an aspiring psychiatrist now no longer has any drive in him and is living off his rich wife's money. This along with the stress of acting as doctor to his wife's illness over the years has taken it toll. The façade that we read about in the first part of the book is beginning to rapidly slip.

A lot is said about the prose in this book and words such as 'beautiful' and 'lyrical' are thrown about when describing it. For me though the pull of this book are the portrayals of the characters and the themes. Perhaps this is testament to the prose which, although beautiful, is also subtle and did not hinder the story or message in anyway.

The real skill in Fitzgerald's writing is the way I felt while reading this.I did not feel I was being manipulated into feeling things by Fitzgerald rather that the characters were so well developed I could not help but feel connected to them.

There is an ultimate sadness running through this book. Sadness that these two people are no longer able to communicate, that Dick can no longer help his wife and that they spend their time travelling around Europe in a futile existence. The contempt that Dick and Nicole start to feel for each other is brilliantly written and you can almost feel the hatred sometimes radiating from the page.

"She spoke with such force that in his shocked state Dick wondered if he had been frightened for himself-but the shocked faces of the children, looking from parent to parent, made him want to grind her grinning mask into jelly."

There is no right or wrong in this marriage. Dick feels he has 'failed' in both his professional life and in his inability to help Nicole. It's very easy to understand how he can become disillusioned and resentful after trying to hold everything together for so many years. Nicole has had a hard start with her father and now has a mental illness which threatens her constantly and she is also in her own words 'planet to Dick's sun'. With all these factors in place you can see how although it is not their fault this marriage can be destructive.

Adding to the feel of the book were also an array of other characters and some observations regarding Europe after the First World War and the superpower that America had become as a result. It's impossible not to regard this book without looking at Fitzgerald's own life, his wife Zelda was hospitalised for schizophrenia and there were affairs on both sides. There was also intense drinking on Fitzgerald's part as there was on Dick's and other similarity's to their marriage and the locations used all feature in the book.

The overall impression that I got was that Fitzgerald really did pour everything he had into this novel with a stunning result. This is not a happy, feel-good book by any means but I did not find it 'depressing' Instead I found it insightful, thought provoking and meaningful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diver Sinks, 12 July 2013
F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece is the story of the incredibly named Dick Diver and his fall from grace that occurs over a 6 year period after the First World War.

Diver is a young psychoanalyst (dives into the unconscious) who rescues young heiress Nicole (both Americans abroad in Europe) from madness, and then dives down into alcoholism and ultimately, into the lower classes by the end of the book. Diver falls from the matinee idol, supremely intelligent up and coming Doctor into an abused and self-abusive victim in a few short years.

Brilliantly structured (it starts in the middle, goes back to the beginning and ends tragically) and written with skill and assurance that simply takes the breath away, this tale has transformed my already high opinion of this writer into one of great reverence.

Nicole Warren Diver transforms from a victim rescued into his independent persecutor, while Dick mutates from super-special hero into pathetic victim. It happens so gradually, you hardly notice. You see the corrupting influence of too much money and too much leisure and wonder how anyone can life such stupid, idle, wasted lives.

As Dylan said, 'you've read all F. Scott Fitzgerald's books' - well, now I have, and I declare myself, blown away.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get involved, 9 Feb. 2013
P. Hansford "hawthorn" (England) - See all my reviews
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I found the characters extremely unsympathetic, and the story very difficult to follow. The fact that there was an attempt to reconstruct the book in a more chronological way says a lot about the problem. To me, this seems a case of an inflated reputation giving the book its "classic" status.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful edition, 16 Jan. 2013
Just when I completed the wonderful new edition of The Great Gatsby accompanied by stylish vogue illustrations, my eyes get to feast on another fine new edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender Is The Night, again lavishly illustrated with period photographs. I feel that these new editions will appeal just as much to people coming fresh to F. Scott Fitzgerald as to seasoned veterans like myself who can enjoy these familiar works in a fresh new light. Buy it and see!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully realised angle on the Jazz Age, 10 Sept. 2000
This review is from: Tender is the Night (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
I have read three of Fitzgerald's four novels published during his lifetime, and although I can see why the Great Gatsby is considered his finest work, Tender is the Night is also brilliant, and I like it perhaps more.
The Fitzgerald staples are there. The trademark couple modelled on himself and Zelda, the parties and glory of the jazz age with its tragic mirror in the Lost Generation's futile search among the illusions of wealth. The style here is light and sharp, equally capable of grace and grit, and enlivened with the unique dialogue of the 'flappers.' The time shifts are handled deftly, whilst the intricacy of the novel is more disciplined and experimental than might be imagined; full of neat little structural touches. In particular, the use of narrative angle, exchanging the innocenct naivety of Rosemary for a hardened Richard Diver (via the pivot of a time shift) is superbly effective at shattering the illusion of the Diver's marriage. Symbolic hints of violence and collapse in the first half betray the work's complexity.
It is above all about exile. The geographical exile of expatriates conceals a more profound spiritual and social exile in a self-contained, decadant lifestyle, a self-perpetuating myth of glamour and wealth which leaves those taken in broken or hollowed out. Nicole's schizophrenia is symbolic of the break between illusion and reality which curses them all.
A damning portrait, then, from one of the greatest writers of this fine era in American literature of his Age. Vital for any serious student of this period (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wolfe, Dos Passos etc) and an intense, worthwhile experience for anyone reading for pleasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The poetry of Shakespeare and the bleakness and humor of Beckett, 28 July 2010
A brilliant study of the conflict between intelligence and money, men and women and youth and time all set in a shimmering world of Riviera glamour.

I've never been mugged, but I imagine the experience is very much like reading this book - a feeling of having been sensually and sensibly breeched and both losing and learning something without being immediately sure what.

It's a dazzling piece of work, where the images and attitudes come so fast and so profoundly that it would be easier to have the sentences spread out individually on a large table, like puzzle pieces, so they could be examined in isolation, without the need to connect them to a story line. Anybody who wants to write rock band lyrics should keep this work beside them as a repository of musical thought bites.

The plot hardly matters in the traditional sense, the book charts the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a brilliant middle-class American doctor of psychiatry, through his failed entanglement with the centrifugal force and centripetal desires of one of the US's aristocratic money-baron families. This is superb and subtle stuff with the action taking place in 1920's Paris and the Riviera, which are gorgeously evoked and so realistic that I find it almost impossible not to see shades of autobiography in Fitzgerald's handling of the story. At the same time it has a universal message of the conversion of young men's hopes, drive and expectations into physical and mental middle-aged mediocrity, and what's especially delicious is that this is achieved partly through a vampire like draining of energy from Dick by the various women in the story, who blossom and flourish as he struggles and declines.

Dick is first seen in Book One through the eyes of Rosemary, a Hollywood starlet, who has an immediate crush on the dazzling sophisticate and his complicated wife, Nicole. Dick is at the height of his powers, writing notable academic papers at the same time being the life and soul of the party and humming with sexuality. In Book Two we see via Dick's perspective what he has given up to achieve this prominence and the Faustian bargain that is his marriage to Nicole, so that, in Book Three, Dick is in decline and Nicole shows us his reduction back to his middle American roots, stripped of all his former social, sexual and academic lustre. Essentially Dick is used by Nicole's old school, old money, family for its own ends, and part of the delight of the plot is that Dick thinks he is outsmarting them the whole time - and so do they - with only Nicole's big sister, Baby Warren, retaining a feel for the underlying rhythm of who fits where and what Dick is useful for.

It's a vicious, nasty book disguised as an intelligent, tender, love affair that goes wrong. Everyone in this book is smart in a way that is refreshing but rare in real life; here people are properly and directly engaged with others and yet at the same time living lives of complete frivolity - the contrast is very special.

Writing about American high society on the French Riviera in the 1920s is superficially a very remote topic in 2010, and the shell of this book - the drinks, dinners, yachts, parties and so on might as well be science fiction they are so alien. But the core of the decline of a man and the bad things that moneyed people do to achieve their objectives is universal and timeless, and I recommend this volume to any thinking person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow night, 13 Nov. 2013
I buy books,in part,on the basis of reviews. In this case I came badly unstuck. Although the newspaper reviews were very pro and there were a lot of 5 star opinions I found the action stilted, the characters of no interest and poorly characterized. I gave up after about halfway. Gatsby is a much better read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promises more than it eventually delivers., 12 Jun. 2013
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I enjoyed the book but I thought that Fitzgerald didn't elaborate what was an interesting idea that was too slight to be worked up into a novel, at least by him. Towards the end one had the feeling that he had become bored with the whole thing and disposed of his hero in a very cursory fashion. He told us about his descent into obscurity but did not demonstrate it convincingly. Nor did he demonstrate his wife's metamorphosis, into a stronger character than her husband, having drained him of all his creativity. Interesting but not the groundbreaking novel I had expected- just a nice little Art Deco effort!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Words missing in the Kindle version of this book!!! :-(, 19 Aug. 2012
I was delighted to purchase a Kindle version of this book for less than £1. However, I'm currently 27% of the way through it, and have encountered 3 sentences with the verb missing - there's just a large space and then an 'ed' suffix. This is hugely frustrating, especially when it occurs at key moments. The odd typo I can cope with, but this repeating problem is actually making me consider buying a paper copy of the book instead, as it clearly isn't a one-off error you can forget about. I'm starting to dread when the next one will happen.
Come on Amazon, surely you can do better than this.
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Tender is the Night (Penguin Popular Classics)
Tender is the Night (Penguin Popular Classics) by F Scott Fitzgerald (Paperback - 25 Jan. 2007)
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