(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.
“As nearly perfect as such a work could be . . . The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. Amory, the romantic egotist, is essentially American.” –The New York Times
“[A] bravura display of literary promise . . . Fitzgerald’s prose is capable of soaring like a violin, and of moving his readers with understated husky notes as well as with notes of piercing purity . . . Fitzgerald knew that glamour was bound to fail, that there is an ineradicable human instinct for it which is utterly mistaken.” –from the Introduction by Craig Raine