Wednesday, August 21, 2013

reads #17: July 2013

the diamond as big as the ritz by f. scott fitzgerald

The Diamond as Big as The Ritz and other stories (F. Scott Fitzgerlad, 1922)

I picked up this book just before Baz Luhrmann's latest release. It put me in the mood of reading more F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I didn't feel like doing a reread of The Great Gatsby. Initially, I was looking for This Side of Paradise, after reading about it in Louise Brooks' biography. The book was described as one of the setting stones of the flapper movement. I couldn't find it and I thought that short stories weren't a bad idea for a further introduction to Fitzgerald's style.
For someone who is often proclaimed as the epitomizing writer of the twenties, I thought it was peculiar how often he liked to write about epic 'losers' (judging solely from The Great Gatsby and this collection, I have no idea what his other works are about). It sometimes made me wonder if he actually felt any tenderness towards his contemporaries. I guess that the fact he makes them the leads of his stories is some sort of proof of endearment but I'm undecided. Is it empathy or misanthropy? What do you think?
From the first couple of short stories in this collection, I thought his intention was to portray the effect of the twenties on different kind of people according to their age or their socio-economic status but then it all went a bit science-fiction-y and pretty mad, I stopped thinking and just enjoyed the ride.
My copy comprises of the following short stories: The Cut-Glass Bowl, May Day, The Diamond as Big as The RitzThe Rich BoyCrazy SundayAn Alcoholic CaseThe Lees of Happiness and The Lost Decade.

Favourite quote: It is youth's felicity as well as its insufficiency that it can never live in the present, but must always be measuring up the day against its own radiantly imagined future - flowers and gold, girls and stars, they are only prefigurations and prophecies of that incomparable, unattainable young dream. 
(from the short story The Diamond as Big as The Ritz)

10 comments:

Rita Scamander said...

The picture that illustrate the post and the cover of the book are beautiful. I need to read this book fo sure. I'm adding it to my to-read list. Have a nice day!

moira said...

@Rita: hope you'll enjoy it! all the short stories are not equal but they were all interesting in one way or another. Have you read any other fitzgerald? If so, any book to recommend x

Madeline said...

Have not read this, but sounds interesting, love your arrangement of pretty possessions there though :)

moira said...

@Madeline: it wasn't my vanity but when I dropped my book on the table I thought the background very fitting :) x

little henry lee said...

i love the photo! and fitzgerald is a great writer, i've not read this one (or many of his short stories) but i love gastby and tender is the night a lot.

little henry lee

moira said...

@little henry: i need to get my hands on tender is the night! *bookwishlistupadted* x

Kasia Górska said...

great reading choice! I just love the atmosphere in your pictures <3

moira said...

@Kasia: you're so kind, thank you dear x

Nancy Wilde said...

"the effect of the twenties on different kind of people according to their age or their socio-economic status" I loved the way you described it!

moira said...

@Nancy Wilde: thanks! i'm glad you enjoyed this review x

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