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This Side of Paradise

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Overview: 

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald, taking its title from a line of the Rupert Brooke poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post-World War I youth. Its protagonist, Amory Blaine, is a wealthy and attractive Princeton University student who dabbles in literature and has a series of romances that eventually lead to his disillusionment. In his later novels, Fitzgerald would further develop the book’s theme of love warped by greed and status-seeking.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .A voice from somewhere called the inevitable formula, "Stick out your head!" below an unseen window. A hundred little sounds of the current drifting on under the fog pressed in finally on his consciousness.

"Oh, God!" he cried suddenly, and started at the sound of his voice in the stillness. The rain dripped on. A minute longer he lay without moving, his hands clinched. Then he sprang to his feet and gave his clothes a tentative pat.

"I'm very damn wet!" he said aloud to the sun-dial.

HISTORICAL

The war began in the summer following his freshman year. Beyond a sporting interest in the German dash for Paris the whole affair failed either to thrill or interest him. With the attitude he might have held toward an amusing melodrama he hoped it would be long and bloody. If it had not continued he would have felt like an irate ticket-holder at a prize-fight where the principals refused to mix it up.

That was his total reaction. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

When published in March 1920, this - Fitzgerald's first novel - was an immediate critical and popular success. It led to success for Fitzgerald in another way too, because when it was accepted for publication Zelda Sayre, who had ended her relationship with Fitzgerald the previous year, agreed to...more

I’ve always thought that English teachers need to take a lesson from drug dealers: hook kids while they’re young with good product. In this analogy, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is pure, high-grade cocaine, given away at the nearest street corner. It is an acknowledged classic, always i...more

The Great Gatsby is colossal. It's one of those books from your high school reading list that you probably still like. I do. I love Gatsby. When I saw the Baz Luhrman movie was coming out I remembered that I once promised myself I would read all of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels. This Side of Parad...more

after reading: Meh. Meh, meh, meh. See, this is the problem with re-reading books that shine so bright in your memory — sometimes they just don't live up. I mean, there's really no reason I shouldn't have loved this book. It's filled with philosophical musings and snappy, flirty dialogue; it's pl...more

Entitlement courses through every word and hemorrhages forth with a youthful flair for dramatics. That a momentary blemish can nearly bring a girl to tears of despair, that looking into the very face of death wrangles only a moment's serious reflection before thoughts are turned back to the senio...more

So how is it that this novel, despite it’s shortcomings, was still able to be successful? Ask any New York agent to represent your literary novel with a male protagonist and he'll tell you: “Literary novel’s with a male protagonist are hard sells.” And they are. Think about it: How many literary...more

Of all the writing by writers in their early 20s I've read (and written), this book is down the street and around the corner from most. I wish I'd read about the Romantic Egotist before I wrote a book called Incidents of Egotourism in the Temporary World that also takes place in the Princeton are...more

This was Fitzgerald’s first novel, published when he was 23. So it’s a coming of age novel and semi-autobiographical. Our main character, Amory, is presented to us as a not-very-likeable egotistical young god. “…he wondered how people could fail to notice he was a boy marked for glory…” He’s so “...more

An Apprentice Work, With Flashes Of Genius

This Side Of Paradise was Fitzgerald’s first novel, the one that made him, at age 23, a literary star, the unofficial chronicler of the flapper era. It was such a success that his ex-girlfriend, Zelda Sayre, agreed to marry him. And we know how that turne...more

This side of paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)
This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was published in 1920. Taking its title from a line of Rupert Brooke's poem Tiare Tahiti, the book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist...more

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