5.27.2014

Crazy Sunday (1932)

It was Sunday-not a day, but rather a gap between two other days.  

It always seemed strange to me that Fitzgerald was not a success in Hollywood as a screen writer. It seems like it should have been a natural fit, but the truth was he just did not cut it. Whether it was due to his lack of faith in the medium, or his personal demons (alcohol and women) he was put into an environment that he did not flourish.  However, being a person who soaks up his surroundings, he could not help but write stories of Hollywood.  Later he would die working on his Hollywood novel, one that could have been a masterpiece.

In Crazy Sunday, we see a bit of the Hollywood scene.  The parties and the small community that made up the Hollywood system.  There is also a bit of personal history that he includes, in the story as in life the protagonist embarrasses himself in front of the Hollywood elite.

This is not one of my favorites, but there is much that seems to be a prelude to The Love of the Last Tycoon. 

The Swimmers (1929)

In the Place Benoit, a suspended mass of gasoline exhaust cooked slowly by the June sun.  It was a terrible thing, for, unlike pure heat, it held no promise of rural escape, but suggested only roads choked with the same foul asthma.

This was a story published in October 1929, right before the the Big Crash.

 Although Fitzgerald was among the expats that lived in Europe in the time between the wars, it does not seem he took to France as others did.  He always seemed to keep a distance.  It was like he was always a tourist, and always American.  In this story he works out the American Ideals set against the Continental.  Henry is an American who has given up his country in order to marry the French Choupette.  In one of their conversations Choupette is talking about the differences in women in Europe and how they stay in their classes when she spies a young American and says....
"But that young lady may be a stenographer and yet be compelled to warp herself, dressing and acting as of she had all the money in the world."
"Perhaps she will have, someday." (Henry)
"That's the story they are told; it happens to one, not the ninety-nine.  That is hwy all their faces over thirty are discontented and unhappy."
Which is still a pretty accurate statement for today.  Even if we Americans know that the dream only happens to a select few, we hold that ideal and know that who the "few" are could be any of us, if we work hard enough and have enough luck on our side.  We are not content to just live with our lot in life.

Another line from the story simply states...
"American men are incomplete without money."
Still true.

Interestingly enough, after Choupette moves to America, she is wooed by the luxury and life that American money and ideals provide, and Henry goes back to Europe after he makes enough money.

It is interesting when Fitzgerald writes about life in Europe.  I always get the feeling that he is hoping to find something there.  He is not in love with the Culture, or the people.  When he did travel there he kept to other Americans, but he held out hope that they will be happy and he will be able to write and they could live cheaply.  But in life it is not where you are, it is who you are and the change of scenery does not change the problems, you just take them with you and "they" live in surrounded by new scenery.  It is a thread that runs through his work.  Whether it be love stories, "class" stories or location stories.  You are where you are, you are who you are and your struggles are internal and will always be your struggles, no matter the situation.  Place, money or love does not ease the strain. 




5.26.2014

Majesty (1929)


The Extraordinary thing is not that people in a lifetime turn out worse or better than we had prophesied; particularly in America that is to be expected.

Majesty is a princess fairy tale done Fitzgerald style or in this case the girl skips the princess phase and goes straight to Queen.  Of course in any Fitzgerald story there is a hint of tragedy.  Even though Emily has her wish of living the life as she believes is her due, she has to live in on a compromise.

What I did appreciate in this story was not so much the Emily character, which is the prototypical Fitzgerald girl, but her cousin Olive, who is more serious and down to earth.  Typically Fitzgerald does not put this girl in the favorable light, but here she gets the happy and fulfilling life.  The characters remind me a bit of Scarlett O'Hara and Melanie.

5.24.2014

What a Handsome Pair (1932)

Published in 1932, What a Handsome Pair is a response to the publication of Zelda's Save Me the Waltz.  A story of two couples, one who have everything in common and one who have nothing in common.

Here Fitzgerald cautions against having to much in common with your spouse in case you become too competitive.  In any competition there is a winner and a loser and there is no good outcome to this in a marraige.  Obviously this is a reflection of the Fitzgerald's competition in the writing field.  You can see how Scott feels he had to sacrifice his novel for the slicks to make the money and that allowed Zelda the freedom to pursue her writing as she did not have the responsibility to pay the bills. 

However, I do not agree with his assessment of having nothing in common with your spouse or at least in the arrangement of marriage in this story.  Here the husband is far above the wife.  He is cultured and successful and she is of low birth and is lucky to have found him.  He is a philanderer and she is left to be OK with the situation.  There is merit in opposites attract, but this arrangement is just wrong.

There is a passage that I did really like about 2 men who have loved the same woman...
"The two men regarded each other with curious impotence of expression; there can be no communication between men in that position, for their relationship is indirect and consists in how much each of them has possessed or will possess of the woman in question, so that their emotions pass through her divided self as through a bad telephone connection"


The Bowl- A football story worth reading (from a sport-hating reader)

This is a story that I have been dreading reading.  A football story.  I had read it before years ago, and did not have a dreaded remembrance of it, but for some reason when I picked it up again and started reading it I would stop and set it aside.  I do not like sports stories.  I really don't like sports much at all.  

With all that said, I did like this story. Not the actual sports stuff, that I would have been fine not reading, but I did like the emotional story.  I guess it is like a good sports movie.  I can do with out the sports action, but I usually like the emotional and spiritual journey the story is really telling.

So lets see.  The non-football story in this sports story  involves a guy who is good at football, but really is unsatisfied with it.  He falls in love with a girl who hates football and will have nothing to so with the sport.  The guy finds a way to remove himself from the game and is happy in love for most of the season.  He gradually starts to realize that he missed the sport and is compelled to play again.  She gives him an ultimatum, the reasons she has for hating the sport is not like mine, just a preference, she has personal, emotional reasons for not liking the game, and for her it is a treasonous act for him to want to go back.  He decides he must go on.  

What I really like about this story is that Fitzgerald does not have to rely on plot twist to get the ending right.  So in the end, this is one of his good stories.  Don't pass over it just because you dislike sports stories, you will be missing out.

The Rough Crossing, Magnetism

The Rough Crossing was published on 1929 and is a story of a couple who is dealing with a rough patch in their marriage.  On this particular crossing the boat encounters a hurricane.  This stories metaphor to parallel the rocky marriage with the hurricane may be a tad to obvious to make it a good story and if there was more to it I did not find it.


Magnetism (1928):  I found this interesting, not a fantastic story, but one that felt like it had some depth to it.  Simply it is about a man with charm, and how the charm can negatively effect his life.  There are layers to the story that could have been worked on to maybe make it more or longer.

Magnetism and The Rough crossing were 2 stories I found online, ones I was not able to find in any collection at this time.

Family in the Wind & On Schedule

I read these a while back, but never got around to the write up. So here goes my brief synopsis. 

Family in the wind- (1932)
An interesting story with a tornado at the center of the action.  I can't remember if he used weather like this before.  Of course there is an alcoholic at the center of the story and a little girl.  Themes he has used before and relevant to his life at the time of writing.

On Schedule- (1933)
Written while Zelda was in Hospital and Scott was dealing with being a "single" parent.  It is a story of how a single dad is trying to keep his family running when every one has different activities.  The family he is keeping going consists of a daughter, the father, the hospitalized mother and a young girl the father is in love with.  Of course this type of story lends itself to being one of miss connections and misplacement of the schedule.

Not great stories, so there is not really too much to say.

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