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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote This Side of Paradise in the hopes of attaining celebrity and to win back the spirited Zelda Sayre. He achieved both - becoming an overnight literary success and marrying Zelda barely a week after publication.
AmazonClassics brings you timeless works from the masters of storytelling. Ideal for anyone who wants to listen to a great work for the first time or rediscover an old favorite, these new editions open the door to literature's most unforgettable characters and beloved worlds.
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By Tad Davis on 01-15-18
Dick Hill gives a passionate and powerful reading of Fitzgerald’s first novel. I came late to Fitzgerald, and I wasn’t expecting the range of emotions and genres packed into this small space. Besides the expected prose, there are generous helpings of poetry (and stirringly poetic prose) and even part of a playscript. The narrative is peppered with subheadings, like a textbook - or like the Aeolus episode in Joyce’s Ulysses, but two years before Ulysses was published.
Amory Blaine is a Princeton undergraduate trying to find himself. Gargantuan quantities of alcohol are consumed; late night bull sessions diagnose all the problems of society; the women Amory falls in love with (or at least falls in sex with) are impossibly beautiful and flirtatious. The Great War, after rumbling in the background for four years, finally impinges directly on his life (and takes away forever a number of his college buddies).
I’m not sure the ending of the novel really clicked for me. There’s not much of a plot; it’s more of an impressionistic survey of significant moments in a young man’s growing up. But there’s plenty of emotion and plenty of beauty, and Hill’s narration sings and soars.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Sarah on 06-17-18
My husband and I were reading this for a book club - he had the printed version, I the audiobook. Neither one of us could finish it.
It's the story of a nacissistic young man who goes to college, where he is (probably typically) obnoxious. I couldn't stand him so gave up pretty early on. My husband got farther with it than I did and thought it was picking up for a while, but finally gave up in disgust.
I understand Fitzgerald wrote this at 23; the book shows promise for the writer. Our problem was not with the writing but with the character, who was perhaps too well portrayed. Maybe the ending redeems the book - we'll never know.
Dick Hill does his usual excellent performance.