happy thursday everyone
You know what love to give - and receive - as holiday presents? Books.
Books are great. I love books. My favourite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I don’t think any writer understood the self-destruction of a man (and it was almost always a man) like Fitzgerald, and few had such an intimate relationship with that self destruction as he. He also had incredibly problematic views towards nearly every minority group, non-land-owning white males, and even land-owning white males (though the latter group is less overtly prejudiced in his writing).
His writing style is what made me fall in love with the English language and with writing itself. This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night remain two of my favourite novels (though as a reader one must confront the racism, misogyny, sexism and other prejudices Fitzgerald possessed).
This Christmas I was gifted On Booze, a collection of snippets and short stories written by Fitzgerald. Mainly on alcohol. No writer had such an intimacy with man as Fitzgerald, and no other writer had such an intimacy with alcohol as him either.
One-third of the way through this book, I would argue it doesn’t dive into the “drunken debauchery” of the roaring 20s. Rather we witness the rapid deterioration of a man and his relationship with the world.
The first lines in The Crack-Up, written in 1936, set this up for us:
“There is another sort of blow that comes from within - that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realise that you will never be as good a man again” (11).
And he was talking about a man.
That line from The Crack-Up encapsulates many of Fitzgerald’s writings. With a few exceptions (The Rolling Junk and The Diamond as Big as the Ritz come to mind), many of Fitzgerald’s most enduring works are about the slow deterioration of a man: The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night and, to an extent, This Side of Paradise.
No other writer wrote about the fragility of a person’s psyche like Fitzgerald. It is what draws me to his work over and over again.
I wonder what Fitzgerald would write about me.
I don’t think it’d be flattering.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Dreamin’ Again, by Jim Croce
And now for your links:
Dan KP: Spurs’ stars ease pressure on Antonio Conte with 4-0 win at Palace
The Athletic ($$): Relying on second-half form not sustainable for Spurs
Check out Alasdair Gold’s Spurs ratings after their rout against Palace
A long read on the mourners who lined up for Pele’s funeral procession