When I began to read this novel I immediately saw some of myself in Anthony Patch, the main character. I'm much an idealist and procrastinator like Anthony so it was nice to see how his life panned out. Like most of Fitzgerald's books, this was slow to start and long in spots, but the mundane detail is well worth the read. If you like Flaubert's Madame Bovary, I would say this is its American counterpart. Most of the novel is set in New York City and New York state around the time of the Great Depression. Whether Anthony Patch and his wife Gloria are out gallivanting in society or entertaining in the country side, there is a certain air of detachment in their marriage. The Beautiful and Damned tells the story of a would-be heir cut off from his dreams by his own lack of motivation. Anthony's hard fought for wife Gloria desperately tries to hold on to her youthful beauty, but only attempts to profit from it at the eleventh hour. From what I have read about Francis Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned is just short of autobiographical. The plot is laced with infidelity, alcoholism and loathing. The characters are very organic, they evolve as one would expect after having hit rock bottom, both financially and socially. The ending is quite surprising.
What did you think of this review?