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I must admit that it has been a few years since I last read any of F Scott Fitzgerald’s works, so it made a pleasant change to re-read this book. This particular novel was the last complete one that was published by Fitzgerald in his lifetime. In some ways this book is semi-autobiographical, that is if you look at what was happening in the Fitzgerald’s lives at around the time that this was first thought of and writing started.

To most people The Great Gatsby is considered to be Fitzgerald’s masterpiece; however he himself considered this book to be, although it was met with some very mixed reactions by the reading public at the time. It has to be admitted though that as the yeas have gone by this book has met with a greater appreciation and enjoyment by later generations.

Set in the Twenties we first meet Dick and Nicole Diver in a small relatively out of the place resort on the Riviera, a few miles from Cannes. As new film star Rosemary Hoyt and her mother come to the nearest hotel for a break so Rosemary comes across the Divers, and takes an instant liking to Dick. As we follow this episode we see that she starts to become aware of something perhaps a little strange in the Diver marriage.

Quite complex in its structure, and taking in how Dick and Nicole came together this has a lot to offer readers. If you take away the Jazz Age and the wealth of the characters here, then the issues raised are still as relevant today as when this was first written. We have mental illness, child sex abuse, extra-marital relationships, keeping up appearances and people behaving badly abroad, all of which still goes on, and other subjects raised.

With some really well fleshed out characters we also see how Dick Diver, who should be the most stable character here slowly becomes worn down, more introspective and turning to alcohol. The two leading ladies in this book, Nicole and Rosemary become much stronger and self confident as the story goes on, becoming more the type of modern woman that we are familiar with today. An ideal book to read any time, this also gives you more than enough to contemplate and discuss within a book group setting.
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on 1 January 2014
I first read The Great Gatsby fifty years ago, and have re-read it regularly over the years to indulge myself in the richness of the prose and the clear morality of the story. I had several times attempted to get into Tender is the Night, but until earlier this month it had always eluded my attention. Gatsby has a clear narrative timeline and two fine characters - the self-effacing Nick, and Gatsby himself - and two detestable pantomime villains: Daisy and her husband, who damage people but then pass on cocooned in their wealth.

Tender is the Night has a quite different structure - and there are no villains at all. I tackled the book again a week or so back at the urging of a friend and published author whose views I much respect, and who rated the book greater than Gatsby. I read it once, and at the end of this first reading quite frankly didn't see the point: medical charlatan marries young, beautiful, rich patient and gets his comeuppance. But, respecting my friend's views, I persevered: and half-way through the second time I began to get an understanding. Now, having read it in full three times in succession I can see why it can be considered to be greater than Gatsby.

The triptych structure is essential to the book. The first part shows Dick and Nicole Diver at the height of their existence: glamour and attractiveness seen through the perceptive eyes of a young (seventeen) but self-assured young actress, Rosemary, who falls heavily in love or infatuation with Doctor Dick. He rises nobly to resist her attempt at an affair without offending her, and clearly expressing his responsibilities to the wife and children he loves.

The second section is a flashback explaining how their relationship came to be, and the perilous quicksands upon which it is built. Dick is a serious young psychiatrist with a dazzling future ahead of him - but he is poor. Nicole, then sixteen, becomes his patient and over time they fall in love and marry: she is emotionally damaged, but very rich. Taking this history in the second part gives you cause to reflect upon the dazzling impressions of the first part, and to suspect the weaknesses that underlie it.

In part three, the finale, the edifice of their life together crumbles and eventually their marriage falls apart. They separate, divorce; with Nicole now strengthened to independence and Dick descending into alcohoiism and a succession of appointments in small towns where his charm can disguise the failure of his talent. Nicole still loves him for what he meant to her, and you know that he still loves her - but that there is no way back. Both Dick and Nicole terminate their relationship with a dignity that confirms that their relationship, although flawed, was nevertheless something of value.

I now, and somewhat to my surprise, agree with my friend's assessment that it is greater than Gatsby - but it requires more effort than a casual flipping through.
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on 17 January 2013
This edition is F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1934 original novel. There is a cheaper edition, but I noticed reviews saying it had spelling and punctuation mistakes, and even missing text. So I was glad I bought this edition which is free from errors and well laid out. There are contemporary photographs between chapters which are unique to this version as well.

If you haven't read Tender is the Night before, it's a longer and more challenging work than The Great Gatsby, more ambitious and more rewarding in my mind. You can see the influence of Sigmund Freud and notions of madness. I would recommend you Google 'Hemingway's Letter to F Scott Fitzgerald' to see what another great writer thought about this classic book.
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on 6 November 2016
I love love love Fitzgerald, he is one of my favourite authors. So when I got my hands on Tender is the night, I couldn't put it down.
The thing with his books is that I always feel like I am part of the story, as if I am an observer watching the characters. Needless to say, I always get upset when I notice I am almost at the end of the book. I won't give away the story here,but it is set between Europe and the US, over the span of a few years.
Regarding the actual book, I was pleased with the aesthetics of it; it's hard back, the pages are fairly heavy and the black and silver cover makes it very elegant.
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on 24 February 2015
Book arrived quickly. These Collins Classics are of lesser quality than you expect of a Penguin Classic for instance, but then they are usually cheaper.
Just for your information - this is the original version of the book - the one that starts at the hotel - and not the later version with the potted history at the beginning. Most people think that this original version was the better one, and F Scott Fitzgerald should have left it alone.
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on 31 October 2013
A classic I ought to have read years ago but somehow missed. I ordered it directly after re-reading The Great Gatsby and like that work it is essentially about monied people, mainly Americans, in the heady 1920s - the Jazz Age. Characters come and go on the French Riviera, in Rome and in Switzerland. The main character is the young American psychiatrist David Diver, although we do not immediately learn of his profession.
His wife, it emerges, was one of his patients, in a clinic because she was a victim of incest. Diver has a brief relationship with a young film star and eventually he and his wealthy wife part and he's last heard of in Upper New York State working as a GP. No great tragedies but a little sad
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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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on 4 December 2012
Well after years of citing The Great Gatsby as my favourite novel I thought it was time to read some more Fitzgerald to qualm feelings of Charlatanism. Not that I was expecting Gatsby to be surpassed in anyway, but I'd heard that this was the only other novel of F Scott's that can really be held up to it. Does it hold up?

Well not really no. It is a work of moments rather than a consumate masterpiece in its own right. Not that those moments are fleeting or sparse. Although a work of rather grand ambitions in its seventy or so chapters, they are for the most short, concise and rich in content and emotion. I'm sure fans of Gatsby are so because of its near perfect structure and pace, with each sentance holding insight, drama and pure beauty in its verse like prose. It has no fat to be trimmed to be sure.

This is where Tender has some failings. The three part strucutre feels a little needless. The real meat of the story lies in the second and third parts as we learn more of Dick and Nicole's past, future ambitions and ultimately the realisation of the failure of their respective needs in their doomed marriage. Part one by comparison does little but set the scene of idealism, through both the serene and virbrant Riviera backdrop and the virginal eyes of the young Rosemary Hoyt. And indeed Rosemary herself, despite being such a central and integral character in the story, never really develops beyond plot device. Her unfaltering imfatuation with Dick and her somewhat creepy obedience to her mother's wishes sits somewhat uneasy with the reader. It isnt until she leaves the story and the end of this first part, that the story and Fitzgerald's writing and insight picks up emotional pace.


By the close Dick Diver himself can be held in the same vein as Gatsby to some extent as a doomed and tragic figure, in the failure of his overeaching ambition and eventual demise (albeit not an actual deat this time). But while Gatsby is painted by Nick Carraway as somekind of enigma, an innocent of soul in a soceity of the morally redundant, by comparison Dick Diver's eventual decent into alcoholism and general misanthropy is somewhat more nasty and creul. There is no sugar to help this pill go down. Interesting that this was written toward the end of Fitzgeralds life, when commercial failures and personal demons plagued him, while Gatsby was written when he was younger, on the up and full of a burning ambition still. Maybe this is the point. Maybe I am still to young to fully appreciate this. I'll come back to it in twenty years maybe when I am as bitter and twisted as Dick Diver is by the end of his marriage and career.
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on 17 September 2016
I've never got what the fuss is about Gatsby. Yes, much of the writing is good but I find the people unappealing. Then I saw a reference to TITN as being the better book. And it is. Ok, there are some more unappealing people but the quality of the writing this time is adequate compensation.
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on 22 November 2014
If you are looking for a book about the dangers of luxury amounting to complacency then this is your bag! The hero Dick becomes lost to the characters in the novel but in that "losing" you become attached to him. The novel cruelly denies you access to his realisation in the end to make a point; that the intelligent are used to provide entertainment but when they desire the emotional and real confrontation of their thoughts, they are often left listless, embarrassed and aged. It's a sad story but a real one : a complex and masterchef Cinderella with a male as its lead. The misogyny only forgivable through the context and the depression of the author, who, like Dick got lost somewhere in his crisis of masculinity. Read with wine...
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