The Beautiful and Damned

Bookshelf , 26 March 2014

The Beautiful And Damned / F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Not just the theme for Kate Moss’s 30th birthday party, but GD’s suggestion for our bookclub read this month. It’s a cracker.

Having read The Great Gatsby (as great as the title suggests) I was hoping for a lot and was surprised to find the beginning somewhat cumbersome. The protagonist, Anthony Patch, isn’t immediately likeable. He’s a little wooden, a little lacking in moral fibre. His relationship with Gloria isn’t captivating, either.

Until it unravels. It is then that the story picks up pace, and when it does all the earlier reading really, really is worth the effort.

Fitzgerald always excels in his descriptions of demise, be it the byproduct of insanity, alcoholism or decadency so once he has hit his stride, this book is exquisite.

‘Happiness… is only the first hour after the alleviation of some especially intense misery’

‘Things are sweeter when they’re lost. I know – because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly… And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands… you can’t have anything, you can’t have anything at all. Because desire just cheats you. It’s like a sunbeam skipping here and there about a room. It stops and gilds some inconsequential object, and we poor fools try to grasp it – but when we do the sunbeam moves on to something else, and you’ve got the inconsequential part, by the glitter that made you want it is gone.’

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, £5.84 at

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