Written between 1920 and 1937, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was at the height of his creative powers, these ten lyric tales represent some of the author's finest fiction. In them, Fitzgerald creates vivid, timeless characters -- a dissatisfied southern belle seeking adventure in the north; the tragic hero of the title story who lost more than money in the stock market; giddy and dissipated young men and women of the interwar period. From the lazy town of Tarleton, Georgia, to the glittering cosmopolitan centers of New York and Paris, Fitzgerald brings the society of the "Lost Generation" to life in these masterfully crafted gems, showcasing the many gifts of one of our most popular writers.
There's this beautiful bit about how the guy imagines his dead wife on a swing, swinging faster and faster, like a pendulum, and it makes it seem as if time is going faster and faster, which it is. No more bull market. This guy loses everything in the end. This always seems to happen to Fitzgerald’s characters, poor kittens.
"May Day" Philip Dean is happy at first to hear from his old college buddy, Gordon Sterrett, but, when he finds out that Gordon has fallen upon bad times, his instincts are to recoil as the sob story threatens to spoil his vacation. Gordon wants money to pay off a girl who is blackmailing him, but Philip is unwilling to part with that much money. Instead, he takes Gordon out to a party where Gordon sees his old girlfriend who is in love with him. She is appalled to see the change in Gordon, now drunk and despondent. The blackmailing girl picks Gordon up outside the party and things only get worse.
"The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" John T. Unger goes off to college for the first time because his parents are proud of him and don't want him to be stuck in small-town Hades. John spends most of his vacations with friends. One of them invites him to stay for summer vacation. On the way there, Percy Washington tells him that his father is the richest man in America - why, he even has a diamond as big as the Ritz hotel. Percy's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before him have managed to keep the Montana estate off the maps and totally secret. Once there, John meets the girl of his dreams, but, when she accidentally lets it slip that none of their friends make it off the estate alive, John needs to find a way out fast. This story represents the family's wealth as an evil influence, corrupting their moral integrity until they will do anything to hold onto their secret mines and money.
"Winter Dreams" Dexter Green is a fourteen-year-old golf caddy when he first sees Judy Jones. A chance encounter with her leads him to the sudden idea that he is too old to caddy anymore and immediately quits. Dexter is a successful owner of a laundry business when he sees Judy again. She turns his world upside down, but only for a few weeks, and then he discovers that she keeps any number of men dangling. When he finally realizes he cannot have Judy, he becomes engaged to someone else, but Judy comes back into his life, saying: "I wish you'd marry me." Dexter is caught up in his emotions, about to wreck his engagement for the chance to be with Judy. But Dexter's world only disintegrates when he realizes that Judy's beauty was only temporary.
"Absolution" Rudolph Miller is a typical boy entering his teens, with typical unholy thoughts. He avoids the confessional until his father bullies him into going. While he is there, confessing the sins he dreads to confess, he commits the mortal sin of lying during confession! Rudolph is terrified to take communion the next day with this unconfessed sin damning his immortal soul. He tries the subterfuge of "accidentally" drinking water the next morning, thereby making himself unfit for taking the Holy elements, but his father catches him in the act before he has had a chance to take a sip. When his father sends him to confession again, Rudolph rebels and confesses none of the egregious sins that stain his soul. Later, he tremblingly walks into the priest's office to tell him of his horrible behavior, but the priest's reaction is wholly unexpected, and sends the boy running from the room.