F. Scott Fizgerald, 1922, read as an e-book from BlackMask.com
There is little to say about Fitzgerald that has not been said (with copious references and footnotes) by my betters. So I will merely say that this book has little to recommend it if you’re looking for sympathetic characters, an engaging plot, or even a rollicking good story. It’s a long book for the events it describes. The main characters are frustratingly shallow, misguided, and objectionable on virtually every level.
But don’t take any of this as a recommendation to avoid the book.
The Beautiful and the Damned has an astonishing collection of descriptions of people in circumstances that are so evocative that you could swear you’d been there. It features goosebump-inducing descriptions of people’s internal dialogue that ring frighteningly true. Fitzgerald makes their despair and desperation palpable. You’ll find yourself sharing the characters’ frequent need for a drink. And some of their less-shallow moments of self-reflection are nothing short of beautiful.