Review: Tender is the Night

Tender is the Night

Tender is the Night
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Scribner Book Company, Paperback, 9780684801544, July 1995, 320pp.

The Short of It:

Endlessly amusing.

The Rest of It:

From Goodreads –

Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s harrowing demise.

My “short of it” blurb sounds like an insult but it’s not meant to be. It WAS endlessly amusing but in the best possible way. Fitzgerald delves into his characters and all of their neurotic tendencies but the story is a little bit of train wreck. It’s all over the place but I kind of liked that aspect of the writing.

Dick, is Nicole’s husband but also her doctor. She’s mentally unstable, which makes it very easy for Dick to have an affair with Rosemary Hoyt. No regard is given to his children and although he cares for Nicole, he doesn’t seem to love her anymore. Love and obligation are two different things. This does not go unnoticed by Nicole so there’s this delicious tension between the two of them which made this a surprisingly enjoyable read.

Tender is the Night is said to be the most autobiographical of his novels and I’d have to agree. His long-time relationship with Zelda and her well-documented mental breakdown is echoed here.

Did I enjoy it more than The Great Gatsby? No. There’s something about Gatsby that grabs me from within. The writing is lovely in both novels but Gatsby is the one that stays with me the most.

Have you read either one?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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14 thoughts on “Review: Tender is the Night”

  1. I loved this when I read it in high school… much more than The Great Gatsby. But my appreciation of Gatsby has grown over the years and I’ve never reread Tender id the Night. Maybe next year… I have it on my Classics Club list.

    1. When I first read Gatsby in high school it didn’t do much for me. It wasn’t until years later that I began to appreciate it. Tender is just a different book. Another blogger said it’s still very much Fitzgerald and I would agree.

  2. I’ve read both and honestly cannot say which one I like best. Tender is so sad when you realize just how autobiographical it is. Also, it has been decades since I last read Gatsby, so I guess I cannot compare. I am glad you enjoyed it though!

  3. I loved Gatsby, but its been so long that I’m not sure I even remember it anymore. I should probably re-read it. Tender sounds like a fun read, but sad when you mention it being autobiographical. Definitely sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I’m planning on reading more classic authors this year, perhaps this one should make the cut.

  4. I read Gatsby in high school and college and loved it, and I’ve never reread it for fear it wouldn’t live up to my memory. But I should go back to it and then read some more Fitzgerald. I love his writing style (or did, years ago!), and he sounds like an interesting dude in real life too.

    1. It’s been argued that Fitzgerald’s talent was at the bottom of a bottle but I beg to differ. I love his writing even though the story lines are sometimes not clear cut.

  5. I love this one. I think Gatsby is the better novel structurally, but there’s something about the rawness of this book that really hit me. It felt like he was writing about himself.

    1. They do say that Tender is the Night is his most autobiographical work. I believe it. Have you read O’Nan’s West of Sunset? I felt like I knew Fitzgerald after that read.

      1. I haven’t, but now I’ll definitely check it out! I think Tender will always have a special place in my reading heart because I read it right before visiting his and Zelda’s home in Alabama a few years ago.

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