East Bay Book Club Message Board › Meeting Recap: June 2013 Classic Book Discussion (Tender Is the Night by F.
Union City, CA
What was interesting about the June 2013 Classic Book Discussion on F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night was that it really required no facilitator. While there was a volunteer for leading the discussion with questions, the whole meeting ended up involving comments that came to people's minds, without being prompted by questions. With that, here's a sample of what was discussed about the book...
The part about incest was important, but downplayed because of the sensitivity of the subject and the era during which the book came out.
The title "Tender Is the Night" comes from a poem, which is mentioned in the page before the story begins. It's possible that the author used that phrase simply because of how those words sounded in relation to his story, with no connection between the themes of the original poem and his story.
As for who the main character of the novel, it's certainly not Rosemary Hoyt. It's really Dick and Nicole Diver, as the novel focuses on their relationships with other people. Then again, it may be hard to see Dick as the protagonist because the book transitions from one character to another.
Given that Fitzgerald also wrote short stories, it's notable that this novel seems to have short stories thrown in, like the situation with a black man's murder.
The origin of Dick's descent seemed hard to understand for some. One may consider that Dick has simultaneous roles of a doctor, a husband, and a father figure. The fact that his professional life wasn't fully together was the first sign that he has cracks in his character.
Speaking of which, the practice of psychiatry doesn't seem to be well described in this book, though it still shows the toll of mental illness. As for Nicole, who is schizophrenic, it's possible that she has a personality disorder instead.
The book does not seem to be coherently themed, though there are psychological insights in some places.
The novel represents the years after the Jazz Age, when the Great Depression took place.
Overall, there may be a couple of criticisms of the book here and there, but most people liked the book a lot. As usual, the discussion was great.