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A Complex Read
on 20 July 2016
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.