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The Crack-Up Paperback – February 27, 2009
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I carried F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE CRACK-UP around with me for almost ten years before I got around to reading it last month. It was one of those books that I felt I was literarily required to read, what with my affection for all things Fitzgerald -- especially Gatsby. Once I got into the book, I found parts of it fairly impenetrable, which must have been Fitzgerald's state of mind while writing some of the material, a posthumous hodgepodge of uncollected pieces, samplings of notebooks, and unpublished letters (both from and to the author).
An excellent companion piece to the book is the PBS American Masters documentary, F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: WINTER DREAMS, which draws heavily from THE CRACK-UP. The film, in its quest to simulate the elegance that its subject so desperately tried (and failed) to attain, unfortunately breezes over some key points in the writer's life; but the DVD is well worth checking out (literally, either from your local library or Netflix). (PBS's website makes up for some of these omissions with a nifty timeline that puts all of Fitzgerald's accomplishments into context with the tragic goings-on in his life. It also offers some additional footage that does not appear in the film, most notably interviews with E.L. Doctorow and Budd Schulberg, who wrote the screenplay for On the Waterfront and who, as a young screenwriter, was rewritten by Fitzgerald.)
Originally written as three essays for Esquire in 1936, "The Crack-Up" was Fitzgerald's bearing of his soul, his confession, his mea culpa to the world at large for letting them -- and himself -- down.Read more ›
In The Crack-Up Fitzgerald writes equally poignantly of the agony of the aftermath of such excess and unfulfilled desires and social insecurities. He was able to capture all of this so clearly because it was the life that he and Zelda aspired to and, from time to time, lived. But they were always just on the outside, depending on the generosity of others both financially socially. He takes no prisoners.
It is no surprise that he is still being widely read. Don't miss Fitzgeral - it doesn't really matter which of his books you start with, you will find yourself moving through the collection.
The book is made up of a series of short narratives that Fitzgerald wrote describing the world around him leading up to his death at the age of 44. As usual his writing is so incredibly lucid and eloquent that you are not only transported to the place but can sense the anguish and frustration that he feels with his life. Take this excerpt for example:
"The tempo of the city had changed sharply. The uncertainties of 1920 were drowned in a steady golden roar and many of our friends had grown wealthy. But the restlessness of New York in 1927 approached hysteria. The parties were bigger, the catering to dissipation set an example to Paris, the shows were broader, the buildings higher, the morals looser and the whiskey cheaper" - Pg. 30
The middle of the book is made of some lists that Fitzgerald was obsessed with making and the final section is filled with his personal correspondence. The letters between him and Hemingway are true gems.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's not fiction. It's essays detailing the author's mental breakdown a few years previously. The writing is exquisite, especially the broken crockery analogy.Published 7 months ago by joesezso
It is interesting that both Fitzgerald and Hemingway wrote of and about the moral decay, corruption and bankruptcy of Hollywood as long ago as the 1920s and 1930s. Read morePublished 11 months ago by lidz
Personal lists, essays and letters sum up F. Scott Fitzgerald's life. Although some friends of mine lament the lack of plot I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Penelope
This is a grab bag of F. Scott Fitzgerald writings. It was compiled and edited by his long-time friend from college days, Edmund Wilson. Read morePublished 15 months ago by R. M. Peterson
The short stories that open the book are by far the best. What comes later is interesting if you're a fan but probably much less so if you're not really "into" F. Read morePublished 18 months ago by David
This collection has essays by Fitzgerald, selections from his notebooks, letters. A must for the Fitzgerald reader.Published 19 months ago by Mark Statman
I own a print copy of "The Crack-Up." It includes F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Notebooks." This Kindle edition does not. Read morePublished on December 17, 2013 by Carol S. Child