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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY TOUCHING AND VERY WELL DONE
"It is seven thirty on an August evening. The windows in the living room of the gray house are wide open patiently exchanging the tainted inner atmosphere of liquor and smoke for the fresh drowsiness of the late hot dusk. There are dying flower scents upon the air, so thin, so fragile, as to hint already of a summer laid away in time."

This is the story of a...
Published on 30 Jun 2009 by Heather Negahdar

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Tired
To a certain measure, I agree with those who have given this 5 stars: Fitzgerald's writing is beautiful, and he paints a glorious picture of a privileged lifestyle in the early 20th century. Captivated from the first page, I too rushed into a world of splendour and seduction, reminded not a little of some of my own friends who adorn themselves with fur and finery, and...
Published on 19 May 2012 by Amazon Customer


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY TOUCHING AND VERY WELL DONE, 30 Jun 2009
By 
Heather Negahdar ""Haze"" (Bridgetown, Barbados) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
"It is seven thirty on an August evening. The windows in the living room of the gray house are wide open patiently exchanging the tainted inner atmosphere of liquor and smoke for the fresh drowsiness of the late hot dusk. There are dying flower scents upon the air, so thin, so fragile, as to hint already of a summer laid away in time."

This is the story of a young couple Anthony and Gloria Patch living out their days to the hilt in New York City as they await the death of Anthony's grandfather, Adam Patch from whom they expect to inherit his massive fortune.

Gloria is a spoilt child from Kansas City turned into a sophisticated and most beautiful woman. Gloria does not intend to lift a finger to do any domestic work in the home, no matter how slight; while Anthony who considers himself an aesthete, finds it quite hard to get his act together and instead of buckling down to some work, prefers instead to hang with his wife and their friends on nightly binges. They drink and eat in the classiest restaurants and hotels, rent the most expensive apartments, travel out to the West in the spring time driving plush cars, wearing top-of-the-line clothing and just generally living it up high on the hog, as they wait.

Meet Maury Noble who is Anthony best friend who spends his time between New York and Philadelphia; Richard Caramel who has just completed writing a book and looking for new ideas for a second one. Joseph Bloeckman from Munich who started out small in America and is now a big shot in Show Biz. Also the quiet Jewess Rachael Barnes and Muriel Kane who is young, flirtatious and sometimes a bit too talkative and Tana the Japanese housekeeper of the Patches.

We are shown the Patches at their very best as the novel starts, with the world at their feet and loaded with cash with which they make very expensive choices. But, as we get further in, we see things begin to change gradually and we realize that those very choices will be their very downfall. It was quite a good read but it could be very heartbreaking at times as we put ourselves into the shoes of the main characters. All lovers of F. Scott Fitzgerald should read this book if you haven't done so already, and those of you who like reading about the ultra rich in the Roaring Twenties this one is for you. It is the kind of book that you feel you will want to read again. It is that good and I shall miss it.
Reviewed by Heather Marshall Negahdar (SUGAR-CANE 29/06/09)
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Beautiful' writer in a 'Damned' era, 11 Oct 2007
F.Scott Fitzgerald is a writer of remarkable talent. His prose sparkles with a beauty that juxtaposes with his often tragic subject matter. 'The Beautiful and Damned' explores some of the issues that would plague his own career as a writer who never really managed to top the acclaim bestowed upon 'The Great Gatsby', a devastatingly beautiful and seminal piece of 20th century literature. 'The Beautiful and Damned' boasts an array of would-be writers, actresses and dancers whom epitomise an era of of vanity, excess and alcohol. But underneath the shiny veneer lurks the inner turmoil of Anthony's talent that is never successfully fulfilled and capricious Gloria's despair that her good looks cannot be maintained. Anthony's descent into alcohol and depression is truely heartbreaking, especially as it ironically peaks as both the main protagonists' bad luck is about to change. This is perhaps telling of the era that Fitzgerald evoked in lucid vitality with the hustle and bustle of fashion, jazz, and alcoholic delights, but at the same time viewed with cynicism. As Gloria bemoans that she cannot afford a much in vogue grey squirrel fur coat, and her husband self medicates with copious amounts of alcohol, Fitzgerald's prose exposes the subtle horrors of innocence lost to an era of excess.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative insight into a generation, 19 Oct 2009
By 
LittleMoon (loving my life in the rain) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
As the New York Herald Tribune noted in its obituary, Fitzgerald was both "prophet and interpreter" of an era, and readers will find The Beautiful and Damned mapping this familiar territory. Set during early 20th century America, moving into the "Jazz" Age as it came to be known, and peopled with characters who define themselves through their money and connections, through dinner parties and drinking binges, through beauty and youth; this novel is the epitome of Fitzgerald's tragic, lost generation.

The plot spends roughly a decade following the life of 20 year old Harvard graduate Anthony Patch, and his relationship with the young socialite Gloria Gilbert. They are an uproarious couple who luxuriate in time and money as though both are infinite: they are the talk of the town; Anthony for being the heir to the fortune of the great reformer "Cross" Patch, and Gloria for simply being beautiful. It's not long though before cracks begin to appear in their facade, and when a legal case Dickens would be proud of comes between Anthony and his fortune, their world comes under even greater pressure.

What Fitzgerald does beautifully is map the building up and breaking down of individuals by society and each other: with money and alcohol there to exacerbate. He also draws scenes exquisitely, describing such details as to make the reader suffer along with his characters - their embarrassments and debasements. Fitzgerald's prose is his crowning glory, dissecting characters and situations with an unrelenting and surgically precise lyrical splendour.

What's odd about this novel is the sections which Fitzgerald decides to write as though they were a drama to be performed on stage, complete with directions. Ironically, the dialogue here is really flat, and seems to distance the reader, rather than pull us closer.

Fitzgerald remains one of my favourite writers, and this novel doesn't diminish him, though The Great Gatsby (Penguin Modern Classics) reigns sublimely in terms of story and prose, and Tender is the Night: A Romance (Penguin Modern Classics) is structurally a more accomplished work (both 5-star reads). The Beautiful and Damned is an intelligent and evocative deconstruction of a relationship, filled with uncomfortable insights into a generation and how it defined itself.

[In the Penguin Modern Classics Edition Geoff Dyer's too-brief introduction looks at the novel from an autobiographical perspective, and compares it with Tender is the Night.]
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Tired, 19 May 2012
To a certain measure, I agree with those who have given this 5 stars: Fitzgerald's writing is beautiful, and he paints a glorious picture of a privileged lifestyle in the early 20th century. Captivated from the first page, I too rushed into a world of splendour and seduction, reminded not a little of some of my own friends who adorn themselves with fur and finery, and luxuriate daily in a Château-du-Godknows as if it were water. The Beautiful and Damned lends us an undeniably brilliant portrayal of the effortlessly affluent.

Yet from his very keen perception of life, of people and relationships, the author also allows to slip in, first by tiny mouse steps and later the great thumping of elephants' feet, a sense of tired and miserable inevitability. Anybody who has seen a relationship burn like a Roman candle has already read this book. Even ignoring the heavy tones of foreshadowing, the final two thirds of are boringly predictable. When you see a couple of hundred pages of ebbing ruin stretching out before you like a vast desert, the only question is, 'Am I really interested in how this comes to pass?'

So what of the critique of the young and wealthy? While Fitzgerald is scathingly critical of virtually every character in the novel, he does not attack affluence so much as the means by which it is obtained. There can be no tragedy in the loss of Anthony, weak and scorned, awaiting unearned millions, nor of Gloria, beautiful and empty, who lacks empathy and humanity. If we are to look for tragedy in the 'human condition', we also come up short, for this is a world not of the human, but of the intellectual trapped in a love affair with money.

In this sense, there is plenty of meat on the bones, but the story itself left me bored and tired. Others might enjoy it, but I would not read it a second time.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The downfall of a delightful but decadent New Yorker, 14 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This bittersweet novel chronicles the misadventures of Anthony Patch, a rich, Harvard-educated doyen of New York dance halls and fashionable bars during what was later called the Jazz age. Anthony is blessed with good looks, intelligence and wit and stands to inherit a fortune from his crotchety grandfather, a one-time reformer and monomaniac whom old age has not mellowed.
Anthony, to his grandfather's disgust, chooses the life of a dilettante, or maybe it chooses him. Unable and unwilling to hold down any kind of job, his life revolves around drinking, dining and visits to his stockbroker. One day he meets the glorious Gloria Gilbert, a renowned but vacuous beauty, a kindred spirit, who will eventually accompany him on the road to ruin through the years which witnessed World War One and prohibition.
F Scott Fitzgerald writes with great insight and perception on the foibles of the extremely rich in New York society in the early twentieth century, partly because it was the section of society to which he belonged. The dialogue is crisp and crackling, the detail accurate and absorbing and the tone one of detached amusement. He shows an understanding of the futility, and an awareness of the cruelty of everyday life. The characters he creates are neither likeable nor detestable. They are products of their time, their age and their place in society, and are unable to escape those constraints.
I found this book delicious in its wry humour, poignant in its exploration of human frailty and unstinting in its subtle attacks on the so-called great and good. It was thoroughly enjoyable but self-consciously sad.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beautiful and Damned -- Damned Beautiful!, 3 Dec 1997
By A Customer
We're coming into an age referred to by many as the "Cocktail Nation," and our youth is experimenting with swing dancing, swing music, making bathtub absinthe, and trying to recreate the air of my most favorite decade of all times: the roaring '20s.
"The Beautiful and Damned," is by far the best work by the man who almost single-handedly created the image of the flapper. F. Scott Fitzgerald was as much the voice of his generation as we claim modern alternative musicians are the voice of ours.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and blessed, 20 Jan 2013
I am very much enjoying re-discovering the F. Scott Fitzgerald oeuvre through these new illustrated kindle books. This is a fine edition lovingly illustrated with period images, which help bring the novel even more to life than I can remember. Keep 'em coming!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clean and with lovely illustrations, 20 Jan 2013
clean and with lovely illustrations of fitzgeralds second novel which is more uneven than gatsby but still a good read and with plenty to chew on
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY TOUCHING, VERY WELL DONE, 19 May 2004
By 
Heather Negahdar ""Haze"" (Bridgetown, Barbados) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
"It is seven thirty on an August evening. The windows in the living room of the gray house are wide open patiently exchanging the tainted inner atmosphere of liquor and smoke for the fresh drowsiness of the late hot dusk. There are dying flower scents upon the air, so thin, so fragile, as to hint already of as summer laid away in time."
This is the story of a young couple Anthony and Gloria Patch living out their days to the hilt in New York City as they await the death of Anthony's grandfather, Adam Patch from whom they expect to inherit his massive fortune.
Gloria is a spoilt child from Kansas City turned into a sophisticated and most beautiful woman. Gloria does not intend to lift a finger to do any domestic work in the home, no matter how slight; while Anthony who considers himself an aesthete, finds it quite hard to get his act together and instead of buckling down to some work, prefers instead to hang with his wife and their friends on nightly binges. They drink and eat in the classiest restaurants and hotels, rent the most expensive apartments, travel out to the West in the spring time driving plush cars, wearing top-of-the-line clothing and just generally living it up high on the hog, as they wait.
Meet Maury Noble who is Anthony best friend who spends his time between New York and Philadelphia; Richard Caramel who has just completed a writing a book and looking for new ideas for a second one. Joseph Bloeckman from Munich who started out small in America and is now a big shot in Show Biz. Also the quiet Jewess Rachael Barnes and Muriel Kane who is young, flirtatious and sometimes a bit too talkative and Tana the Japanese housekeeper of the Patches.
We are shown the Patches at their very best as the novel starts, with the world at their feet and loaded with cash with which they make very expensive choices. But, as we get further in, we see things begin to change gradually and we realize that those very choices will be their very downfall. It was quite a good read but it could be very heartbreaking at times as we put ourselves into the shoes of the main characters. All lovers of F. Scott Fitzgerald should read this book if you haven't done so already, and those of you who like reading about the ultra rich in the Roaring Twenties this one is for you. It is the kind of book that you feel you will want to read again. It is that good and I shall miss it. Heather Marshall
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hard going, 30 Aug 2013
By 
S. M. Barnes (Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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It's well written but somehow I'm beginning to lose interest in the characters and may well not bother to finish the book.
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