So there’s apparently two editions of this book out there and my copy is the originally published one, finished by Fitzgerald, and reviewed while he was still alive. He apparently left some notes about changes he could make, and Malcolm Cowley made those changes, and I am generally against such actions, so I am glad, I unwittingly read the original.
The novel takes place on the eastern end of the French Riviera, near Cannes it seems, and involves two main storylines that come together initially and then diverge. We meet Rosemary, an American traveler, who joins in with her fellow tourists (in that way of money where tourist means someone living in Europe for an indefinite and extended period of time), and she becomes fascinated, enraptured, and taken by a glamorous couple in their 30s (she’s in her early 20s), the Divers. The Divers are Dick Diver, a well regarded psychiatrist, and Nicole, his wife, and a patient under his care. As the three become more involved, we begin to understand the various questions and gaps in their history as presented in the present tense of the novel.
In section two, we take a big leap backward and learn about how they met and got married. In section three, we look back at the present with an eye toward the future.
The novel is less impactful I think than The Great Gatsby, but it’s fuller and broader in scope. There’s more of a richness to this one, even if I think the results are less successful. He’s at times just an absolutely brilliant writer, and at other times the cracks (so to speak) are present in the prose, even to the point of feeling slight forced. It’s a complex story to say the least and feels very novely, in ways most books don’t anymore.