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3.9 out of 5 stars140
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 29 June 2013
I know it's a ‘classic’ and everything, but I'm sorry, I just find Scott Fitzgerald all a bit tedious and bombastic.
I don't recognise a lot of his characterisations (do tall virgins really recross their legs excessively? that certainly doesn't strike an 'ah yes' moment for me, and to be honest I don't really care either way; are Tuscan peasants really short-lipped? ditto), and the language is often verbose and obscure to the point of dullness (voices that 'mimicked the cadence of water running into a large old bathtub' - really?). Sometimes that can conceal profound meaning, but I just find it, in this instance, distancing and obtuse.

Yes, it explores mental health and it's impact on people, but for similar themes handled with the same depth but without the grandiosity I'd give Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer" a try.

I'm not a big fan of The Great Gatsby either, so I guess Fitzgerald's just not my cup of tea.
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on 14 May 1998
I'm flabbergasted! A lot of the reviews on this book are mostly concerned with how hard it is to get something out of Fitzgerald's novel. Messy and incoherent, people seem to think. The point is that this is what it's all about. The world's recently fallen to pieces in what has become known as the Great War. Most of the characters in the novel are aware of this, in one way or another. Consequently, they too are falling to pieces. Hints about this are to be found everywhere in the book, although Fitzgerald often hides them in subtle ways. If you've read this book recently and found it difficult, I strongly advise you to reread it. This is not a book just to glance through.
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Set initially on the French Riviera as young film star Rosemary is drawn into the charmed circle of the Divers, this widens out to take in the tainted lives which lie beneath the surface glamour.

This is my favourite Fitzgerald, and I've always found it far more poignant than The Great Gatsby. I don't want to say too much about the plot as some of the intensity of the book comes from the fragilities and vulnerabilities that are hidden at the start.

This is ostensibly a glamorous book which yet dissects the corruption and pain which might lie beneath. I love this book and also find it a very moving analysis of modern life.
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on 19 August 2012
Really mixed feelings about this one! Was a re-read from approx 20+ years ago, and my memory (hazy) is that I thought WOW at the time. This time, I just didn't actually get it really. Was quite pleased just to get to the end.

Had also recently re-read Gatsby and loved it second time around, so, I suppose my expectations were high for this FSF re-read, and they were dashed. Hate not finishing a book so forced myself through it.

Bit gutted, in all honesty!

PS - Totally agree with another reviewer, the missing odd parts of words etc in the Kindle edition really didn't help!! Grrr.
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Tender Is the Night is one of the most interesting examples in 20th century fiction of reversing the usual social metaphors. Dr. Dick Diver, a psychiatrist, is examined as a case of mental health. He is also placed in a classic woman's role, that of the desired, amiable beauty sought after by all and sundry. These juxtapositions of the usual social perspectives allow the reader to touch closer to the realities of human need and connection, by piercing our assumptions about what is "right and proper."
The story begins from the perspective of Rosemary Hoyt, an 18-year-old motion picture star, recuperating on the Rivera. One day she goes to the beach and becomes entranced by the Divers, Dick and Nicole, a golden couple with whom she immediately falls in love. Beautiful, young, rich, and looking for adventure, she quickly sets out to capture Dick who is the most wonderful person she has ever met.
Later, the story shifts to Dick's perspective and traces back to the beginnings of his marriage to Nicole. She had formed an accidental attachment to him (a classic psychiatric transference) while residing in a mental hospital. He returned her friendship, and found it impossible to break her heart. They married, and he played the role of at-home psychiatrist tending her schizophrenia. All went well for years, but gradually he became weary of his role. His weariness causes him to re-evaluate his views on life . . . and the psychological profile of Dr. Diver, charming bon vivant, begins.
The tale is a remarkably modern one, even if it was set in the 1920s. Fitzgerald deeply investigates the meanings of love, humanity, and connection. In so doing, he uncovers some of the strongest and most vile of human passions, and makes fundamental commentaries about the futility of fighting against human nature. The result is a particularly bleak view of life, in which the tenders may end up more injured by life than those they tend. What good is it to please everyone else, if they offend rather than please you instead?
The character portrayals of Rosemary Hoyt, Dick Diver, and Nicole Diver are remarkably finely drawn. I can remember no other book where three such interesting characters are so well developed. You will feel like each of them is an old friend by the time the novel ends.
If you have ever had the chance to read Freud, the novel will remind you of his writings. There is the same fine literary hand, the succinctness and clarity of expression, and the remorseless directness of looking straight at the unpleasant. I felt like I was reading Freud rather than Fitzgerald in many sections.
This book should open up your mind to thinking about which social conventions you observe that leave you uncomfortable . . . or which are in contradiction to your own nature. Having surfaced those misfitting parts of your life, I suggest that you consider how you could shift your observation of conventions to make them more meaningful and emotionally rewarding for you.
Be considerate because it pleases you to be, not as a ruse to obtain love!
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on 11 August 2011
This is an elusive book that has many different levels and many different faces so that one is never really sure one understands the point. The jet set - gatherings of rich people who seem to know no better than to have a good time indulging themselves -- move in and out of focus in the plot that presents a tapestry of society and the high spots of Europe.
The marriage of central character Dick to his patient, Nicole, the gradual decline of their relationship and of him, the superficial interpersonal communications and `affairs' between members of their society never seem to be real - rather carbon copies of stereotyped people moving about their world's stage as if nothing really mattered.
Before dismissing the artificiality of the book, I was struck with moments of sheer genius when the author caught exactly that elusive quality of a relationship that never fully came to fruition, he caught those fleeting moments that seem insignificant at the time but have tremendous impact on the psyche and are never forgotten.
His quick character descriptions, his colourful descriptions and his slight-of-hand manner that evokes exactly what it was like certainly caught the imagination. The reader is also constantly informed of historical and cultural facts and descriptions that leave one in awe of such an informed author and the tantalizing use of French and of exotic locations and events take the reader into a forgotten affluent world as a relatively uninvolved observer.
This book was a fascinating read, introducing me to a world quite different to any that I have or ever will experience. It was not a book that I could ever say I could relax with. As a reader I had to work hard to follow the characters' trains of thought, or to appreciate their feelings and actions but while reading it, I was constantly aware that much deeper issues underpinned the writing, ones that matter a great deal and although these were never brought right out into the open, I was aware that it was these issues that made this book worthy of its place in the greatest of literature.
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Tender Is the Night is one of the most interesting examples in 20th century fiction of reversing the usual social metaphors. Dr. Dick Diver, a psychiatrist, is examined as a case of mental health. He is also placed in a classic woman's role, that of the desired, amiable beauty sought after by all and sundry. These juxtapositions of the usual social perspectives allow the reader to touch closer to the realities of human need and connection, by piercing our assumptions about what is "right and proper."
The story begins from the perspective of Rosemary Hoyt, an 18-year-old motion picture star, recuperating on the Rivera. One day she goes to the beach and becomes entranced by the Divers, Dick and Nicole, a golden couple with whom she immediately falls in love. Beautiful, young, rich, and looking for adventure, she quickly sets out to capture Dick who is the most wonderful person she has ever met.
Later, the story shifts to Dick's perspective and traces back to the beginnings of his marriage to Nicole. She had formed an accidental attachment to him (a classic psychiatric transference) while residing in a mental hospital. He returned her friendship, and found it impossible to break her heart. They married, and he played the role of at-home psychiatrist tending her schizophrenia. All went well for years, but gradually he became weary of his role. His weariness causes him to re-evaluate his views on life . . . and the psychological profile of Dr. Diver, charming bon vivant, begins.
The tale is a remarkably modern one, even if it was set in the 1920s. Fitzgerald deeply investigates the meanings of love, humanity, and connection. In so doing, he uncovers some of the strongest and most vile of human passions, and makes fundamental commentaries about the futility of fighting against human nature. The result is a particularly bleak view of life, in which the tenders may end up more injured by life than those they tend. What good is it to please everyone else, if they offend rather than please you instead?
The character portrayals of Rosemary Hoyt, Dick Diver, and Nicole Diver are remarkably finely drawn. I can remember no other book where three such interesting characters are so well developed. You will feel like each of them is an old friend by the time the novel ends.
If you have ever had the chance to read Freud, the novel will remind you of his writings. There is the same fine literary hand, the succinctness and clarity of expression, and the remorseless directness of looking straight at the unpleasant. I felt like I was reading Freud rather than Fitzgerald in many sections.
This book should open up your mind to thinking about which social conventions you observe that leave you uncomfortable . . . or which are in contradiction to your own nature. Having surfaced those misfitting parts of your life, I suggest that you consider how you could shift your observation of conventions to make them more meaningful and emotionally rewarding for you.
Be considerate because it pleases you to be, not as a ruse to obtain love!
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on 27 January 2013
Having previously never read any Fitzgerald, I was recently bowled over by the magnificent Great Gatsby which comes pretty close to Ford Maddox Ford's The Good Soldier for my top spot in early C20th American novels. So I moved on to Tender Is The Night, and was disappointed. There is little of the stylistic flair that had me almost hugging myself with glee in Gatsby, and sections of it border almost on the prosaically dull. But the great complaint is simply the crassness with which it handles its major theme: mental illness.
Of course, it was written at a time when psychoanalysis *was* crass, possessed by Freud's unsubstantiatable fantasies about sexual development and trauma, but that does not stop me wincing at it now. Additionally, whether the causal theories of mental illness of the time were true or not, the depiction of the main mentally ill character (no spoilers from me!), whilst largely sympathetic, is still patronizing and compartmentalizing. Amazon is not the place for a lit-crit style review, but enough to say that the emergence of psychoanalysis had a huge impact on fiction, and I can't help feeling that this novel is just a badly thought through bandwaggon jumper. "Ima write me a book with a nutter in it," says F. Scott, between the whiskies watches his wife's mental collapse, and trawls out a caricature of them both. OK, that's harsh. But I didn't like it, and felt it was crass, lacking credibility, and (surprisingly) really quite dull.
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on 19 March 2015
This is the first F. Scott Fitzgerald book I have ever read, an interesting choice given that this is one of his last book. Definitely make sure you read this in the intended original order rather than the word version that arranges it chronologically and thus ruins the dramatic narrative.

SPOILERS
I'm not sure I feel comfortable with the abused/turned mentally problematic woman being the cause of the mental deterioration of the man and he being her rescuer and healer. For most of the book I couldn't stand the guy and in the end I suddenly felt sorry for him, but I was annoyed about that. Nicole, who was a strong character to begin with is pushed to the background and only surfaces up to provide the last push in the end. A bit disappointing.

At first I didn't think it was particularly well written as people said, with the exception of a few beautiful written chapters, but I do appreciate now that it is indeed really well written and quite beautiful. One has to survive the first book to and finish it to really appreciate the book. It feels quite autobiographical and that made it even more interesting I think. Fitzgerald is definitely an interesting writer. I would like to read The Great Gatsby.
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on 16 July 2014
I bought this only because I told myself it was a shame to have read only one book (Gatzby) of such an acclaimed author, and it actually became one of my favorite books of all times.The characters are amazingly complex, the story is compelling, and the writting is beautiful. It made a lot of sense to later find out that Fitzgerald considered this to be his masterpiece.
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