This Side of Paradise is the book that established F. Scott Fitzgerald as the prophet and golden boy of the newly dawned Jazz Age. Published in 1920, when he was just twenty-three, the novel catapulted him to instant fame and financial success. The story of Amory Blaine, a privileged, aimless, and self-absorbed Princeton student, This Side of Paradise closely reflects Fitzgerald's own experiences as an undergraduate. Amory Blaine's journey from prep school to college to the First World War is an account of "the lost generation." The young "romantic egotist" symbolizes what Fitzgerald so memorably described as "a new generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken." A pastiche of literary styles, this dazzling chronicle of youth remains bitingly relevant decades later.
"This Side of Paradise commits almost every sin that a novel can possibly commit," wrote Edmund Wilson. "But it does not commit the unpardonable sin: it does not fail to live. The whole preposterous farrago is animated with life."
About the Author
Francis Scott (Key) Fitzgerald's (1896-1940) posthumous literary reputation has remained consistently strong despite many highs and lows throughout his brief life. His best-known novel, The Great Gatsby (1925) remains a critical favorite along with Tender is the Night (1934). Most of Fitzgerald's works are loosely based on his life, including his wife Zelda's insanity and his appreciation for personal indulgence and self-destructive excess.
Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at "The New Yorker" since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including "Rin Tin Tin", "Saturday Night", and "The Orchid Thief", which was made into the Academy Award-winning film "Adaptation". She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York and may be reached at SusanOrlean.com and Twitter.com/SusanOrlean.
“As nearly perfect as such a work could be . . . The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout this fascinating tale. Amory, the romantic egotist, is essentially American.” –The New York Times
“[A] bravura display of literary promise . . . Fitzgerald’s prose is capable of soaring like a violin, and of moving his readers with understated husky notes as well as with notes of piercing purity . . . Fitzgerald knew that glamour was bound to fail, that there is an ineradicable human instinct for it which is utterly mistaken.” –from the Introduction by Craig Raine