Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Undeserved acclaim

Current book: Tender Is the Night
Pages read: None

I didn't read today. I'm terribly sorry. Only I'm not actually, because I really don't like Fitzgerald. So, instead of talking about what part of Fitzgerald I read, I'm going to talk about how I do not understand why he's hailed as a great American author.

Seriously, I just don't get it. Maybe, maybe, if he'd been contributing something to the world that was new or different, but his books all do the same thing that a dozen authors before him did - they discuss the flaws of a modern society and present a story of how it ruins the lives of those who exist in it. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that storyline or the message that it carries, but I'm not sure that Fitzgerald does it particularly well, and I know that there are authors who do it better. (Like Sinclair Lewis, who was a close contemporary (Fitzgerald lived from 1896-1940 and Lewis from 1885-1951) and wrote incisive prose that showed both a more realistic and more hopeful picture of the world. Have I mentioned that I love Sinclair Lewis?) Add to that the fact that Fitzgerald has some serious pacing issues and a tendency to off characters that he doesn't know what to do with, and I just don't think he's worthy of the mantle of greatness that the American literary world has chosen to bestow upon him. This list, for example, has four Fitzgerald books on it. Four of the greatest 100 novels of all time are by the same guy? Pardon my skepticism, but I think not. Especially when they're all the same goddamn story.

So, if you love Fitzgerald, and you think he's a genius, and you're ready to defend his honor as one of the greatest writers of all time, I'd love to hear it. Because I'm at a loss here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sad no one has posted here yet. I'm so curious! What the heck, guys?



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