This Side of Paradise

This Side of Paradise

Book - 1996
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Random House, Inc.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s extraordinary career as a novelist ended abruptly and unhappily, but it began with one of the most brilliant first novels in the history of American literature. Published when its author was just twenty-three, This Side of Paradise is about the education of a youth, and to this universal story Fitzgerald brought the promise of everything that was new in the vigorous, restless America during the years following World War I. Amory Blaine–egoistic, versatile, callow, and imaginative–inhabits a book that is interwoven with songs, poems, playscripts, and questions and answers. His growth from self-absorption to sexual awareness and personhood is described by means of a continuous improvisatory energy and delight. Far from being distracting, Fitzgerald’s formal inventiveness and verve only heighten our sense that the world being described is our own modern world. A profound coherence informs This Side of Paradise–a coherence born of its author’s uncanny ability to revel in the fragmented surfaces of human life while exploring and comprehending its serene depths.
This Side of Paradise is the book that established F. Scott Fitzgerald as the prophet and golden boy of the newly dawned Jazz Age. Published in 1920, when he was just twenty-three, the novel catapulted him to instant fame and financial success. The story of Amory Blaine, a privileged, aimless, and self-absorbed Princeton student, This Side of Paradise closely reflects Fitzgerald's own experiences as an undergraduate. Amory Blaine's journey from prep school to college to the First World War is an account of 'the lost generation.' The young 'romantic egotist' symbolizes what Fitzgerald so memorably described as 'a new generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken.' A pastiche of literary styles, this dazzling chronicle of youth remains bitingly relevant decades later. ' This Side of Paradise commits almost every sin that a novel can possibly commit,' wrote Edmund Wilson. 'But it does not commit the unpardonable sin: it does not fail to live. The whole preposterous farrago is animated with life.'

Baker & Taylor
Follows the story of Amory Blaine from prep school to Princeton, in an autobiographical coming-of-age novel capturing the rhythms of a generation and of America early in the twentieth century

Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, c1996
ISBN: 9780679447238
Characteristics: xxxi, 264 p. ; 22 cm


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Oct 25, 2016

I found this book very relatable as a young independent man in a big city. The main character's pretentiousness blooms and develops in many ways throughout his experience, some bad and some good. The sporadic changes in writing styles and perspectives is entertaining and progresses the plot in an interesting way. Reading about the author's background at the time of writing is also very illuminating, as this is a semi-autobiographical piece.

Sep 15, 2015

Fitzgerald's first novel and its a gem. Story of a young man and his journey of discovery. Semi-autobiographical coloured with great prose.

ProtectEndangeredSpecies Jan 31, 2013

This book is worth the read as an early glimpse of the author, and his narrative. When I first went to college I pulled out a sheet of loose leaf, and mapped out eight perfect semesters. Life deviates in strange ways. Having illuminated his emergence F. Scott Fitzgerald spilled more of the beans than I suspect he would have cared to further on down the road based on my limited knowledge of his treatment of his emergence later in his career. Cliché as it sounds, this is also true: the odometer alone does not define the journey; the paths taken counts for much. He is spoken of, and his work recreated as cinema still to this day, but are the inheritors of his mentors dreams proud of the body of his work, and the criticisms? Much effort was expended staking this young man on his literary journey. In the first hundred pages he drops character examinations with his typical sly wit, and then he tortures himself. Then he walks out on thin ice, and survives. If you've ever been in the position to write something on any of the empty, or partially scribbled on leaves of paper that can confront us, and wondered what will happen to them, this is one of the better literary journey at a start books out there. If you haven't, it is still a good read, though you might not recognize the struggle.


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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Amory Blaine grows from a indulged child to a mature adult, living through prep schools, Princeton, love affairs and World War I.


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SPL_STARR Jun 23, 2015

"Amory Blaine inherited from his mother every trait, except the stray inexpressible few, that made him worth while."

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