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This Side of Paradise (Enriched Classics) Mass Market Paperback – September 14, 2010
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Fitzgerald's first novel, reprinted in the handsome Everyman's Library series of literary classic, uses numerous formal experiments to tell the story of Amory Blaine, as he grows up during the crazy years following the First World War. It also contains a new introduction by Craig Raine that describes critical and popular reception of the book when it came out in 1920. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Fitzgerald's first novel, about a coterie of Princeton socialites, appears in a 75th anniversary edition.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The format is a bit tricky and, in a certain way, could be considered avant-garde, but it shows a constant uneasiness in its flash-narrative style, blending different forms to tell the story (something many writers did afterwards.) The first chapter was a little hard to follow for it had so many things to say at the same time, plus the musicality of the words themselves would distract me from forming images in my mind. But once the story picks up with the amount of events experienced by the protagonist Amory Blaine, particularly his school and University years, and his love life restrained by the Victorian code of conduct of the American upper classes, the narrative flows.
The political content of the book has surprised me, giving it a larger dimension than simply the main character's ethical drama, but announcing the beginning of an artist's draftsmanship that would get polished to the nines later (Tender, Gatsby.) Two historical events are part of its background: the advent of communism and "the prohibition," both playing a significant part on Blaine's later life. Furthermore, the downside of financial capitalism was already present, and this is the beginning of the twenties, not the end, which gives me a different perspective of the decade.
Overall, the fluctuation of the writing style brought me back different authors' tones such as Henry Miller, Kerouac, and even Burroughs, showing that fresh views in literature has to do as much to creative spark as to inexperience (literary adventure.)
This Side of Paradise is a book that should be read by all in America, particularly people that goes to Colleges and Universities.
(A side note: In the late 1990's the hospital in my city had a M*A*S*H themed fund raiser with special guests Larry Linville and William Christopher. I brought this book and each of them autograph their section of the book. Mr Christopher was very personable & interested in what the fans present had to say and he told a couple of stories about episodes that meant something to him or were fan favorites.)