Hot Best Seller

The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Availability: Ready to download


Compare

30 review for The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    The main thing I took away from this biography is that Fitzgerald was a dreadful custodian of his talent, like an adolescent given a Ferrari to drive. He spent most of his life squandering the rare gift he had been given. It's a tragedy that he didn't at least write another couple of novels when he was in his prime. As a husband he was probably equally as wanting. As a friend he often repaid generosity with hostility. And, finally, as a father his overbearing draconian manner, riddled with hypoc The main thing I took away from this biography is that Fitzgerald was a dreadful custodian of his talent, like an adolescent given a Ferrari to drive. He spent most of his life squandering the rare gift he had been given. It's a tragedy that he didn't at least write another couple of novels when he was in his prime. As a husband he was probably equally as wanting. As a friend he often repaid generosity with hostility. And, finally, as a father his overbearing draconian manner, riddled with hypocrisy, was irksome. Essentially it was alcohol that was responsible for bringing to the surface all the flaws in his character. As Hemingway said, he couldn't hold his drink. In fact, it was hard to like him most of the time in this biography. It's interesting that all his scripts for Hollywood were rejected. More an indictment of the film industry, I felt, than any fault of his. After all, he always wrote brilliant dialogue. This was like an overview of his life, thrifty with anecdotes. As my wife said in her review it's an early biography and probably there are now more detailed books about him and Zelda. However, it did its job and made me want to go back and read him again.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Dooley

    This is exactly the book that I wanted to read about the writer, F.Scott Fitzgerald. It not only provided an immersive detailing of his life, but also did an in-depth exploration of much of his writing, providing an even greater insight to his stories. When I was growing up, the celebrity author who fell ... and fell very hard ... was Truman Capote. I was too young to read and appreciate his books and stories at the time, but I later found an incredible brilliance of expression that dazzled my m This is exactly the book that I wanted to read about the writer, F.Scott Fitzgerald. It not only provided an immersive detailing of his life, but also did an in-depth exploration of much of his writing, providing an even greater insight to his stories. When I was growing up, the celebrity author who fell ... and fell very hard ... was Truman Capote. I was too young to read and appreciate his books and stories at the time, but I later found an incredible brilliance of expression that dazzled my mind. I later learned that he had the habit of commandeering easily definable acquaintances as characters. Fitzgerald also did this, not only placing himself and his wife front and center as fictional characters, but many of his acquaintances, too. This caused people to be very uneasy around him. If he was watching you, he was probably mentally taking notes. He is a wonderful example for struggling writers because he not only produced dazzling fiction ... he wrote a considerable amount of tripe, also. (He was also atrocious at spelling. How he would have adored spell-check!) At the end of the book is a 3-part study of how an extended section of one of his books was put together. I found it intriguing to be able to study the Fitzgerald writing process. It is a very sound method, and much better than the Master Class approach that I studied from James Patterson. Fitzgerald's desire to be entertaining and to keep the people around him amused was greatly responsible for his life-long problems with debt. He also viewed the process as needing to be the center of attention all the time (especially in his earlier years) which had an adverse impact on many relationships. One could argue that it also exacerbated his wife's mental state, and it definitely took a controlling turn with his daughter. One of the ways to be constantly "on" was to drink, and Fitzgerald was a nasty and vindictive alcoholic. He would say that alcohol was needed to get him through the routine of writing, yet the majority of his lesser works were produced in that state. Truth to tell, I don't think he needed it for the writing processs ... he needed it to cope with critical reaction. Fitzgerald would talk ... and write ... about being "emotionally bankrupt." He maintained that a person couldn't both save and spend, and that he had "spent" so much of his emotions that he was left with a gnawing emptiness. It is truly a chilling concept. I've described many of the things that impressed me within the book, yet there is so much more. There is an analysis of whether TENDER IS THE NIGHT is a better book than THE GREAT GATSBY, or whether he would have been able to maintain the brilliance throughout his unfinished novel, THE LAST TYCOON. For those not interested in writing analysis, there is the fascination of watching a life lived as a flaming meteor, and despairing of the ash that remains. I highly recommend this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    This was originally published in 1951 and I’m sure more material has since come to light and that there are better, more detailed accounts of Scott Fiztgerald’s life. Truth be told I didn’t learn much that wasn’t in the Zelda biography I recently read. I suppose the most noteworthy thing about him is every time you begin to like him as a man he does something thoroughly reprehensible when he’s drunk, like smashing up a tray of trinkets a young gypsy girl is trying to sell or hitting Zelda. What This was originally published in 1951 and I’m sure more material has since come to light and that there are better, more detailed accounts of Scott Fiztgerald’s life. Truth be told I didn’t learn much that wasn’t in the Zelda biography I recently read. I suppose the most noteworthy thing about him is every time you begin to like him as a man he does something thoroughly reprehensible when he’s drunk, like smashing up a tray of trinkets a young gypsy girl is trying to sell or hitting Zelda. What was really good about this was the detailed analysis the author provides of all his major works. And it left me sad that Scott never finished The Last Tycoon.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    “Just when someone’s taken him up and is making a big fuss over him he pours the soup down his hostess’ back, kisses the serving maid and passes out in the dog kennel.” Whenever I read a biography I always try to work out if I might have been pals with the subject. It’s easy to imagine getting on really well with Fitzgerald until his inner demon made its first appearance. That’s when he might burn down your house or poison your dog – just to get a laugh. Fitzgerald clearly was a combination of im “Just when someone’s taken him up and is making a big fuss over him he pours the soup down his hostess’ back, kisses the serving maid and passes out in the dog kennel.” Whenever I read a biography I always try to work out if I might have been pals with the subject. It’s easy to imagine getting on really well with Fitzgerald until his inner demon made its first appearance. That’s when he might burn down your house or poison your dog – just to get a laugh. Fitzgerald clearly was a combination of immense charm and self-destructive insecurity. His idea that vitality was a finite energy source like any natural resource is fascinating especially considering how much vitality he appeared to waste on drunken self-destructive exploits. His life appeared to be a merry go round of grand triumphs and ignominious rejections. I picked up this biography in a charity shop and I suspect it’s now out of print. No doubt more exhaustive biographies of him have since been written. This book focuses as much on his work as the man behind the work and it does an admirably job of connecting the two. The literary criticism is first rate and certainly helped me understand the nature of Fitzgerald’s genius and flaws better. It did though leave me wanting to know more about Fitzgerald the man and certainly about his marriage to Zelda. A very fine read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    After reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT which struck me as autobiographical, even given my sketchy knowledge of Fitzgerald’s life, I thought I’d read about him and picked up this early biography, begun 10 years after his death at age 44 in l940. There has been much written about Fitzgerald, the connections between his life and his work. I don’t know how this biography stacks up against others, but it seems impartial, recognizing both Fitzgerald’s virtues and faults, and satisfied my interest. Fitzgera After reading TENDER IS THE NIGHT which struck me as autobiographical, even given my sketchy knowledge of Fitzgerald’s life, I thought I’d read about him and picked up this early biography, begun 10 years after his death at age 44 in l940. There has been much written about Fitzgerald, the connections between his life and his work. I don’t know how this biography stacks up against others, but it seems impartial, recognizing both Fitzgerald’s virtues and faults, and satisfied my interest. Fitzgerald said in the early 30’s that the three things he loved most in life were his work, his wife, Zelda, his daughter, Scottie, and drink, in that order It should have been reversed with drink coming first, and blotting out the others, never mind that it was # 4 Fitzgerald began serious drinking early in life and it destroyed his health and resulted in an early death from a heart attack He was a product of the roaring l920’s and thought, along with a lot of others, that anyone could do anything with no consequences. He tried anything, always living beyond his means, partying both in America and Europe during much of the 20’s. He supported himself with his writing – novels, commercial short stories, and several stints as a Hollywood screen writer At his peak, he was enormously popular, but that didn’t last much beyond a decade. What makes Fitzgerald of interest is his writing talent. His most impressive achievement was his novel, THE GREAT GATSBY (1925), his tragedy of a man who was unable to transcend the affluent and corrupt society in which he finds himself. In a sense, that was Fitzgerald, who had a double vision, that of the enjoyment of world with all of its pleasures, and at the same time a moral standing aside and studying it, what has been called his “guilty priest” perspective Dick Diver in TENDER IS THE NIGHT (1933) is Fitzgerald as well, a man who ages and loses the capacity for feeling. He becomes jaded, suffers what Fitzgerald referred to as “emotional bankruptcy” The reality that emerges in this biography is a sad sense of waste, both of a man’s talent and his life. One of the last things Fitzgerald wrote were lines for a poem which Mizener points out could have been his epitaph: “Your books were in your desk I guess and some unfinished Chaos in your head Was dumped to nothing by the great janitress Of destinies” At the time of his death, every one of his books was out of print, the novel he was working on, THE LAST TYCOON, was unfinished, and he felt he had been a failure. Only after his death did he receive critical acclaim

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    He lived a colourful life and, in the end, a disastrous one, which is no less moving because much of the disaster was of his own making A 1964 revision of Mizener's original 1951 biography which includes details of Fitzgerald's final love affair in Hollywood. Definitely a literary biography, it draws deeply on the stories and novels to both unpick and yet also intertwine Fitzgerald's life and his fiction. While Bruccoli's 600pp. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald is the He lived a colourful life and, in the end, a disastrous one, which is no less moving because much of the disaster was of his own making A 1964 revision of Mizener's original 1951 biography which includes details of Fitzgerald's final love affair in Hollywood. Definitely a literary biography, it draws deeply on the stories and novels to both unpick and yet also intertwine Fitzgerald's life and his fiction. While Bruccoli's 600pp. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald is the standard academic biography, this earlier, shorter 'life' is useful for a quick run-through and insight into the glamorous yet doomed lifestyle and the brittle nature of the Fitzgeralds. Mizener quotes at length from primary and secondary sources, and from the fiction of Fitzgerald to tie his analysis back to the texts. A slightly old-fashioned air about this but still a useful read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Bardsley

    This isn’t a biography of Fitzgerald but rather a general and severe critique of him and his work, which highlighted only his faults and shone not a single positive light on any part of him. The author zigzags back and forth through time in pursuit of this goal. Waste of time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lay

    Awesome book. But sad. "you can take off your hats, now, gentlemen," Stephen Vincent Benet wrote when The Last Tycoon appeared in 1941, "and I think perhaps you had better. This is not a legend, this is a reputation-and, seen in perspective, it may well be one of the most secure reputations of our time." Awesome book. But sad. "you can take off your hats, now, gentlemen," Stephen Vincent Benet wrote when The Last Tycoon appeared in 1941, "and I think perhaps you had better. This is not a legend, this is a reputation-and, seen in perspective, it may well be one of the most secure reputations of our time."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    The classic book on the Fitzgeralds

  10. 5 out of 5

    David Campbell

    Cornell University English professor Arthur Mizener's brilliant, controversial 1951 life and literary biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, American short-story author, screenwriter, and creator of the perennially short-listed entry for the elusive "Great American Novel", 'The Great Gatsby' (1925). Published only a decade after Mr. Fitzgerald's death, Dr. Mizener's work represents in many ways an utterly 5-star spiritual precursor to fellow American literary critic Richard Ellman's utterly 6-star an Cornell University English professor Arthur Mizener's brilliant, controversial 1951 life and literary biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, American short-story author, screenwriter, and creator of the perennially short-listed entry for the elusive "Great American Novel", 'The Great Gatsby' (1925). Published only a decade after Mr. Fitzgerald's death, Dr. Mizener's work represents in many ways an utterly 5-star spiritual precursor to fellow American literary critic Richard Ellman's utterly 6-star analysis of Irish novelist James Joyce in 1959, both displaying an at times shockingly unfiltered, uncensored treatment of figures in the pantheon of the modern English literary canon during a 1950's we now routinely stereotype as socially prudish and artistically expurgated. Similar to Joyce, the Irish Catholic Fitzgerald emerges in the social revolutions of the late-1910's as his somewhat distant, creative, transatlantic counterpart, echoing Joyce's themes of sympathetically fallible, individual man stumbling around unsympathetically infallible, collective institutions, but in a thoroughly and uniquely American way. Instead of the Roman Catholic Church and unachievable notions of traditional Irish virtue, Fitzgerald throws his characters up against the old money, boarding schools, Ivy Leagues, political connections, country clubs, and Social Registers of the American East Coast Establishment and amateurish, thinly-veneered notions of 20th century American aristocracy and elegance. Unlike Joyce, however, the always experiential Fitzgerald seeks less to paint a portrait of the artist as young man so much as to the use the young man as a canvas to paint an artistic portrait for it's own sake, completely (and often self-destructively) immersing in role-play of his own literary creations to the point where the artist and the art become completely indistinguishable even to the artist themselves. Late-1910's this is little more than poetic (sometimes lurid) escapes into classical literature, but when the 1920's come roaring into New York City Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda throw themselves mentally, bodily, emotionally, and maritally into the era's deepest, darkest excesses, simultaneously exhausting all-of-the-above by the age of 40 while producing some of America's most memorable prose. Mizener argues to the reader that Fitzgerald is less the Jazz Age's sacred muse than it's sacrificial literary lamb, giving himself over to it's ambitions, money, music, jewels, fashion, drugs, booze, sex, and ultimate implosion so the casual reader of the Saturday Evening Post at the time didn't have to, and so a decade later the 1950's could feel relatively prudish.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alana Cash

    This book is a very moving account of Fitzgerald's life. The strength of the book is that Mizener captures the missteps of Zelda and Scott - Zelda's descent into mental illness and Scott's slide into despair - as they got caught in emotional or psychological quicksand and each move they made trying to recapture youth, innocence, creative flow, exuberance, the past, just made things worse. The author carefully chose from Scott's letters to his daughter, Zelda, his editor and agent and friends, as This book is a very moving account of Fitzgerald's life. The strength of the book is that Mizener captures the missteps of Zelda and Scott - Zelda's descent into mental illness and Scott's slide into despair - as they got caught in emotional or psychological quicksand and each move they made trying to recapture youth, innocence, creative flow, exuberance, the past, just made things worse. The author carefully chose from Scott's letters to his daughter, Zelda, his editor and agent and friends, as well as Zelda's letters to Scott and others to represent the tragedy of their lives. In a letter to his daughter, Scott explains his almost immediate regret in marrying Zelda (her mother). In other letters to friends and colleagues he apologizes for his alcoholism and actions related to it. Most tragic are his descriptions about losing his ability to write and his sense of failure. One of the weaknesses of the book, for me, was the academic discussions of Fitzgerald's books and their flaws. What Mizener thinks of the novels is irrelevant to the bio. And another weakness of the book is Mizener referring to Zelda's work as amateur (more than once) and not explaining how he came to use that particular term. I happen to enjoy her writing quite well, and her letters were lyrical.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jdrocks325gmail.com

    Paradise Was really an extraordinary read, which doesn't seem to tell you much. FSF's psychology is interesting, and it really gives you pause as to the Roaring 20s. It seems they didn't roar so much as drain the life out of you. This book made me glad I missed the whole thing! Paradise Was really an extraordinary read, which doesn't seem to tell you much. FSF's psychology is interesting, and it really gives you pause as to the Roaring 20s. It seems they didn't roar so much as drain the life out of you. This book made me glad I missed the whole thing!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    More of a literary biography than one targeted to the public at large; someone unfamiliar with most of Fitzgerald‘s work might find it difficult going, since it is replete with references to his novels and short stories.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Felipe Schuermann

    One of the saddest - without being slushy and overblown - bios I've ever read. Poignantly beautiful. One of the saddest - without being slushy and overblown - bios I've ever read. Poignantly beautiful.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I learned a lot about Fitzgerald. My only "complaint" is that I have not read that much of Fitzgerald's work, which made a lot of the analysis of his writing fall flat for me. However that is my problem, not the book's. The book made me wonder, had Fitzgerald been held accountable for his excesses and behavior from the earliest days, he may have been a different human. If only he had not been a drunk, if only his wife was not hostile, if only he had some self discipline, if only he lived within I learned a lot about Fitzgerald. My only "complaint" is that I have not read that much of Fitzgerald's work, which made a lot of the analysis of his writing fall flat for me. However that is my problem, not the book's. The book made me wonder, had Fitzgerald been held accountable for his excesses and behavior from the earliest days, he may have been a different human. If only he had not been a drunk, if only his wife was not hostile, if only he had some self discipline, if only he lived within his means, if only he did not obsess about being rich and confident, if only he went after the exact opposite of what he did go after .... and on and on. As it was, no matter what he did, the people around him let it pass, his wife enabled, along with his friends and acquaintances, more excesses and more drunkenness, and he rarely face consequences for his behavior. The result was devastating to his health, his own sanity and his wife's (and enabler's) sanity. A tragic biography. Now I need to read Zelda's side of this story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Esme Bowen

    This book was dense at parts but it felt very accurate because Arthur knew him so he has a good point of view. Fitzgerald had a tragically beautiful life. His wife was depressed and he had minimal joy in his life. People say that Fitzgerald's life could have been one of his books and I couldn't agree more. A lot of the characters in his book are based of off real people that were in his life. The novel the beautiful and the damned was based off of his marriage and relationship with Zelda. This book was dense at parts but it felt very accurate because Arthur knew him so he has a good point of view. Fitzgerald had a tragically beautiful life. His wife was depressed and he had minimal joy in his life. People say that Fitzgerald's life could have been one of his books and I couldn't agree more. A lot of the characters in his book are based of off real people that were in his life. The novel the beautiful and the damned was based off of his marriage and relationship with Zelda.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frederic

    "The Great Gatsby" is a(n almost) Great Novel and a number of the short stories are Not Bad At All...Arthur Mizener does wonderful biographical research and writes a fine book filled with insight into the man and his work but FSF is such a pitiful,little bore that it's tough to get through...Hemingway,being an inveterate liar,painted such an overblown portrait of a pathetic 'Poor Scott'that I figured the truth must lie elsewhere...however,this evenhanded biography confirms that the Hemingway car "The Great Gatsby" is a(n almost) Great Novel and a number of the short stories are Not Bad At All...Arthur Mizener does wonderful biographical research and writes a fine book filled with insight into the man and his work but FSF is such a pitiful,little bore that it's tough to get through...Hemingway,being an inveterate liar,painted such an overblown portrait of a pathetic 'Poor Scott'that I figured the truth must lie elsewhere...however,this evenhanded biography confirms that the Hemingway caricature was actually quite accurate...mean-spirited but accurate....

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Still perhaps the most perceptive biography of Fitzgerald, although not entirely up-to-date. The saddest part of this story is that Fitzgerald died thinking he was a has-been who had wasted his talent. He had no idea his books and stories would be held in increasingly high regard. Today, nearly everyone who is educated has read Fitzgerald.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dottie

    F.Scott Fitzgerald and his circle hold a seemingly endless fascination for me -- I suppose it's the cliche but it's also the truth. Zelda as well -- for me holds her own place both within the circle and on her own. From time to time, I pick up another book, another viewpoint and fall into the spell anew. F.Scott Fitzgerald and his circle hold a seemingly endless fascination for me -- I suppose it's the cliche but it's also the truth. Zelda as well -- for me holds her own place both within the circle and on her own. From time to time, I pick up another book, another viewpoint and fall into the spell anew.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    It turns out I already knew everything in the first third of the book, so I'm betting I know the rest too. It turns out I already knew everything in the first third of the book, so I'm betting I know the rest too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Onenight I caught "Beloved Infidel" on late night movies, and added Mizener, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Graham to my previous reading of Fitz' own books. Onenight I caught "Beloved Infidel" on late night movies, and added Mizener, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Graham to my previous reading of Fitz' own books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helen Kim

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  25. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Mitchell

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tycho

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danette Baltzer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim Pope

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arthur

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...