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on 5 November 2016
How to describe the entirety of this novel?

Often I will put one or two lines on Goodreads after finishing a book. For The Beautiful and Damned, the lines were as follows:

“What a beautiful and strangely desolate novel. My goodness.”

And The Beautiful and Damned is exactly that. It soars from theatrical beauty and then plummets to cold desolation, to unfolding of horrific emotion. The characters are at once vivid and on the verge of crumbling. The prose, as ever, is delicious, decadent and evocative.

The theatricality comes mainly in the form of Gloria, a shining beacon for the indulgence of the Jazz Age, who delights in the social freedom and seemingly exquisite nature of her life, and who enthrals Anthony Patch, a writer and the narrator of this tale of excess. Within the first few pages of their encounters, it occurred to me that both characters seemed to represent both Scott and Zelda. Once this idea had taken hold, I found it impossible to shake off, and by the time I closed the book on the final page, I was convinced that this was what The Beautiful and Damned was: Scott’s wishful thinking for their life and his bitterness and adoration for his wife poured into a single novel.

Which is heartbreaking, but it makes for a compelling and achingly wistful tale. Admittedly, it took me a good few pages to get into the story – I was waiting for Gloria to appear and ignite the fireworks – but when the lady arrived, I was gripped. I followed every encounter with wide eyes, and I admit that I had no idea how the novel would end, if it would be happy or not. When the end did indeed come, I found the climax very startling, very sudden. Some might argue that it was too sudden, that the novel feels cut off or rushed because of it, but I disagree. It left me shocked, but realising later on that it had been building up to it, with both characters hurtling towards trouble and not knowing how to stop. It was gripping, wonderful, and agonising all at once.

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I adore Fitzgerald’s style, and The Beautiful and Damned only reinforced this love for his writing. It is a complex exploration of human character, and the heights it goes to are dizzying, as are the sudden falls.

I highly, highly recommend this. I cannot recommend it enough. The Great Gatsby might be considered his masterpiece, but I much prefer the characters in The Beautiful and Damned. They’ve stuck in my head much longer than Gatsby or Daisy Buchanan have.

And that really is saying something.
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on 2 February 2017
Great condition
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on 18 September 2013
I really didn't want to like the main characters in this book, but was compelled to follow them to the end. By avoiding the traditional 'comeuppance' for unpleasant shallow people, FS Fitzgerald enhances the opulent, vacant lives they end up surviving.
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on 14 March 2017
not what was advertised
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on 2 May 2014
I love his writing, the detail, the slight disgust for women and anything that doesnt fit his ideal. I especially love the period details of live on a shoestring wing and pray before he gets the money. I definitely think I was born in the wrong era, because I love the shoes in the 20's and 30's - period.
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on 11 October 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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on 7 December 2011
The novel "this side of paradise" is a very good one and I think is very important for someone studying Fitzgerald. I would certainly buy it and read it. It speaks about a young man who is rich. I read that Fitzgerald's first book is somehow immature and overly sophisticated in its tone but I don't think so necessarily. I think it is very suited with the atmosphere it depicts. It is very artistically written and very interesting.

The novel is full of incidents that are mixed up, sometimes imitating the way life is, just as jumbled. The plot is not clear but this fact only contributes to F. Scott Fitzgerald's intention to makes us feel the chaos and rush that were specific to wealthy Americans. The book has unity and force. The main character Amory Blaine is a symbol of selfishness and is quite despicable for the reader.

I am not a history or sociology expert but I am impressed by the details of that time that the author presents. I would hazard to say it could constitute a social and historical document of that period in America's history, not only this novel but F. Scott Fitzgerald's entire work. I always planned to buy all his books and make a study of America in those troubled crazy times, as seen by a very attentive insider.
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2009
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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on 25 November 2011
This novel, "The Beautiful and the Damned" is, I believe, the second novel written by Fitzgerald. I loved it and I would advise anyone to read it and to buy the book. The main character, Anthony Patch is a young man coming from the good world in America. Fitzgerald is kind of obsessed with the drama of the rich but he is also fascinated by their world, we can easily see that from other novels he wrote, such as The Great Gatsby, "Tender is the night" and many others novels and short stories. Anthony Patch wants to become as rich as possible as soon as possible. He marries a girl just like him, rich and disoriented because he doesn't know what life is all about.

These two characters just drift in a world of laziness and hollowness. They spend their time going to parties and drinking but they do not succeed in having and experiencing any other feeling than fear. They cannot be happy and they go on partying and drinking just to forget about that thought and the fear that comes along with it. Of course, it is predictable that Fitzgerald goes on to show how the character decays somehow while still being alive and how his life and the life of his wife slowly wastes away and how they never make anything out of it, they lack the most basic courage and wisdom to seek and find a meaning for their existence.

This particular edition is also very neatly made and goes well with the content of the book. I recommend it!
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"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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