Review: Tales of the Jazz Age

Tales of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York, Open Road Media, 2016 (first published in 1922).

Summary: A collection of eleven short stories, the most famous of which is “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

For those who only know F. Scott Fitzgerald, this collection of short stories reveals other sides of the mind of Fitzgerald. Personally, I found this collection uneven. Only one seems to be truly profound, “O Russet Witch!,” a reflection on the choice between safe conventionality, and the risky, unconstrained life.

The most famous in the set was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Fitzgerald turns a thought exercise about being born old and growing backward into a story.

“The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” is kind of a grown up fantasy in which a school friend is invited to spend a holiday in an off-the-map Shangri-la, complete with an attractive sister, until he learns of the secret of the place, and its sinister impliction.

Two in the collection were amusing. “The Camel’s Back” revolves around a costume party and a camel costume for two. “Porcelain and Pink” is a one act play set in a suds-filled bath-tub.

Then there is the pathetic in “May Day” in which old classmates from Yale meet up, one down on his luck, and full of self-pity. Not an attractive figure, and his friends are no better.

To be honest, the other stories in this collection seemed to me to be caricatures, or just plain strange. The only virtue in some of these stories was that they were short. For those who are Fitzgerald fans, of course you will want to read these. For the rest of us, I felt there were a few good stories and the rest were mere padding.

One thought on “Review: Tales of the Jazz Age

  1. Pingback: The Month in Reviews: October 2020 | Bob on Books

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