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am 2. Juli 2000
Run or click, but don't walk to grab yourself a copy of THIS SIDE OF PARADISE. F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel (published when he was twenty-three) is so glitteringly brilliant you might--I say MIGHT--just like it more than THE GREAT GATSBY. By the Gatsby masterpiece Fitzgerald was cutting back deliberately on his flourishing prose--read THIS SIDE OF PARADISE to see him let it all hang out.
Fitzgerald's protagonist Amory Blaine inherits from his mother exquisite manners, a European sensibility, and a dangerous superiority complex. It is to Amory's credit then, that throughout his prep school and Princeton years he regains the respect his attitude loses for him through talent and hard work. His stunning good looks (a point repeatedly established) position Amory well to lose his innocence as a variety of beautiful girls fall for him throughout his adolescence. Looking back nostalgically later on, Amory is honest enough with himself to realize that he doesn't really want to "repeat" his innocence, but merely "want[s] the pleasure of losing it again."
When I first read this book almost four years ago I shook my head after a few pages and said, "there's no accounting for genius." Much later I read E. M. Forster's ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL where he points out what I said as characteristic of the "pseudo-scholar." Yikes! The truth is that there is accounting for Fitzgerald's genius: it lies in his depth of insight, sharpness of wit and overall "will to bigness," as his narrator puts it for Amory. GATSBY is certainly the book that crowned Fitzgerald an immortal, but THIS SIDE OF PARADISE is a must-read for those who want to know what first made him a star.
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am 1. Juli 2000
I found this a trifle indulgent, not very economically-written. Chunks of it consist of two people sitting down and discoursing philosophy, basically the author putting forth his views directly through his mouthpieces. In one chapter towards the end, Amory Blaine gets into a car with two men - this scene appears to serve no other purpose besides letting him expound on communism to them. Also, this does not have much of a plot, which is something I personally prefer; admittedly, this was a literary experiment and not a linear novel. In general, I'm not saying this is bad; only that it did not interest me much.
I would read this, though, for Fitzgerald's depiction of Princeton life - the breakfast clubs, midnight jaunts, arrogant students, the popularity race. Secondly, for his philosophical insights, which made me think (or try to). Then there are Blaine's romances with various girls, which is the liveliest portion of the book and gives us an idea of high society then. Lastly, for Amory Blaine himself - a memorable, striking character of self-absorption and constant self-analysis.
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am 6. Mai 2000
I give this book 5 stars for several reasons: Fitzgerald puts his characters into words on a level I never experienced with any other author: His descriptions of thoughts, behavior and feelings of the characters are very accurate and colorfull. To this, Fitzgerald adds deep psychological insights. No shallow chatter about puberty and well-known theories, but a real , deep dive with a skilfull instructor is offered to those who read carefully. To me, Fitzgerald was like an exquisite but huge strawberry pie: Every bite is delightfull, but to enjoy to the fullest, you may not eat too much at once. I read a few pages a week, so I could let my thoughts linger on these for a while. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best way to read 'This side of paradise.' As if this isn't enough, Fitzgerald puts quite an amount of magic into his work: the meeting with a girl on a dark and stormy night in the fields, the devil staring at our main character, the mysterious relationship with a religious man, and so on and on. In short: Reading this Fitzgerald was a tiring but rewarding experience.
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am 9. Januar 2000
Dies ist ein weniger bekanntes Buch von F. Scott Fitzgerald, welches aber seinen großen Meisterwerken an Qualität in nichts nachsteht. Dieses Buch erzählt die Geschichte des „Amory Blaine" und die Entdeckung der Werte. Er kommt aus einem anfangs reichen, später dann ärmeren Hintergrund, bekommt aber eine Top-Ausbildung und Erziehung, erst in Europa dann in Princeton. Er entdeckt die Liebe, entdeckt die Freundschaft und entdeckt das Leben. Es ist spannend, ihn auf seinen Spuren zu verfolgen, vor allem wenn die Ereignisse und Erlebnisse so schön wie von F. Scott Fitzgerald beschrieben werden. Es ist ein tolles Buch, ein sehr schönes Buch, vor allem wenn man es in Englisch liest. Sehr zu empfehlen. (Dies ist eine Amazon.de an der Uni-Studentenrezension.)
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am 11. Juli 1999
When I first picked up "This Side of Paradise" I was moved at once to put it back down. A casual thumbing through the pages, though, held out the promise of a surprisingly witty author. (After all, good readers should approach with extreme caution that pantheon of flatulent phonies extolled by schoolmarms!) But, the "Bored of Education," aside, I allowed my interest to master my natural prejudice and read a few more lines. "Hm. Actually intelligent," I thought. "Sardonic!" Indeed! With overtones of Mencken's Nietzschean irony and Oscar Wilde's talent for pithy phrase-making, the young Fitzgerald produced a remarkable novel, by anyone's standards. One of the ten best of the 20th century, in my opinion--right up there with "Lolita," "Steppenwolf," and "The Tin Drum"! . . . . Certainly, readers of limited vocabularies (or else readers with ample vocabularies, but no playfulness) should not attempt this book. Its free-flowing structure is reminiscent of that used by Melville in "Moby Dick," which itself drew heavy criticism by people who wanted craftsman when they had before them Artists! So, for anyone to see in such virtuosical creativity the "follies of Youth" just because it refuses to conform to the old, boring and hackneyed formula of a linear novel, betrays a lack of understanding on the part of the blathering critic. "This Side of Paradise" is a great book--not because we were told it is; but (by some accident, some mistake, some blessing!) it really and truly is!
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am 2. Mai 2000
This Side of Paradise is a novel for the young at heart, as it follows the life of Amory Blaine, a young man who is of the elite class. The novel traces Amory through his young life and the occurences he endures such as his many significant others, his struggle with the meaning of life, his military ventures, and finally his economic struggles. This work shows the true meaning of a man's spirit.
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am 30. Juni 1999
Reading some of these reviews has proven to be depressing - in the sense that everyone is focusing on the youthful 'flaws' of this novel. Perhaps it is not comparable in brilliance to Gatsby - but kids-Fitzgerald was a rarest of species-he was a literary genius and Gatsby was his masterpiece! 'This Side'...may have been his first attempt out but never the less a marvelous portrait of being young in the 20th Century. It's shameful that people constantly compare this story to Gatsby, his Sistine Chapel of novels. No, this is simply a terrific story - and it truly is. Amory Blaine is an exceedinlgy likeable protagonist(something all the 'young hip'writers of today seem to forget to have), his images are portraits and his prose are just beginning to blossom. Indeed, this a youthfully 'flawed' novel by a young genius - which still equals an excellent work of fiction. - Oh, and if one reads this book and does not like Amory Blaine, that someone either forgot what it was to be young - or simply doesn't want to be reminded. Ciao.
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am 9. März 2000
Many may argue that the title of this review is nonsensical-I agree. It was a ruse. I found this book to be, most simply, erudite. This is a wonderful case where the book is merely a vehicle of message. I was not particularly attached to any of the characters and I was not meant to be attached. No character is ever truly developed and they, in effect, act as mirrors of the personality of Amory Blaine. Its just him from different directions. Even with them surrounding him-hes still not quite lovable as a character(However, I thought the concept of Amory was great).Noting this, I found the book insightful. Fitzgerald certainly had alot to say about the generation in question. He emphasized their feelings of disenchantment and emphasized this by the seemingly stale characters of the novel. He may have coined one of the best phrases that I have seen in such a novel-"I know myself, but that is all I know". Its a line I'll have to remember. Its a good read, sophisticated, and worth it for it's ambitions.
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am 14. Januar 1997
Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise is the classic novel depicting the confusion and unfocused energy which accompanies young adulthood. It is the paradigm on which all other stories of its kind are based. Fitzgerald brilliantly describes the misdirection of the young Armory Blaine with brilliant prose and unbelievable vocabulary. In trying to make sense of the confusing and unguided transition to adulthood, rather than looking at the world around him, Blaine obsessively looks inward at himself for answers. Attempting to unravel the mysteries of the uncertainty and alienation which come with adult freedom, Blaine floats along on a journey of self-discovery, anguish, and eventual redemption. A must for any Fitzgerald fan, any connoisseur of the American novel, or any one who has ever asked themself the ever demanding question: "What am I going to do with my life."
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am 16. Februar 1998
This book was a complete surprise. The structure and material are very fresh and original, although it is almost 100 years old. The plot is not atypical (life story, growing up, especially college) but I'll be damned if any one I ever met in college had conversations like this character and his friends. It makes the reader think - something this reader hasn't done in a few years (and certainly didn't do in college either!). I liked it very much. It touched my imagination and made me realize that I've been a little bit stagnant for some time... (I'm 30). I would recommend this book to anyone. It's very readable, with a lot to say about the world, and all of it applying to today's world as well as the writer's. Thank you, F. Scott.
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