It is without a doubt that F. Scott Fitzgerald reigns as a literary master. His most famous novel The Great Gatsby will forever be a classic. Timeless and on every ‘must read’ list. It is because of his widely received success for his previous novel that inspired me to try another work his. Tender is the Night is his final stretch of a novel and closely autobiographical. The novel reflects the battle he and mentally ill wife, Zelda underwent.
The novel focus on the lives of Dick and Nicole Diver. Wealthy, popular, well spoken and well traveled. However harboring deep issues within their relationship. The setting in is both France and Italy and frequently the novel switches between the two. As new relationships arise, including the brawny Tommy and the lovely actress Rosemary, Dick and Nicole’s relationship becomes even more strained than it already is. As the story grows deeper, the audience learns that Nicole is mentally ill and Dick is actually her psychiatrist/doctor. The novel flashes back to the meeting of the couple and how they ended up getting married. Although the novel is an overt depiction of the deteriorating relationship between the author and his wife, Fitzgerald adds the liberation of women in the novel, especially Nicole. Nicole finds a new sense of self as she grows distant from her illness and of Dick. Tender is the Night questions the authenticity of relationships, the freedom of women, and how the effects of mental illness influences a person’s surrounding.
They looked at each other at last, murmuring names that were a spell. Softly the two names lingered in the air, died away more slowly that other words, other names, slower than music in the mind.
Closing this novel, I took a deep breath, and realized what a horrible and boring novel that was. No matter how profound you try to get, this novel is hard to get in to. It’s plot is so unorganized and has no real purpose. I wonder if Fitzgerald had trouble coming up with something, as this seems to be just a slur of paragraphs, and a slew of selfish characters. I was annoyed with every character, and because the story felt so lopped together, I didn’t feel any connection to the characters. I hate not finishing books but I felt burdened to trudge through this one. Also I didn’t agree with the treatment of minorities in the novel (especially blacks), and I thought adding that element was unnecessary and didn’t serve as a definite purpose. Even though The Great Gatsby was good, I’m seriously doubting his writing skills in any of his other novels. I was so happy to finally be able to put down this novel; perhaps it was just too melodramatic and boring for my taste. With that being said, I would not recommend this novel to anyone, unless you want to be bored out of your skull.