This Side of Paradise is the book that established F. Scott Fitzgerald as the prophet and golden boy of the newly dawned Jazz Age. Published in 1920, when he was just twenty-three, the novel catapulted him to instant fame and financial success. The story of Amory Blaine, a privileged, aimless, and self-absorbed Princeton student, This Side of Paradise closely reflects Fitzgerald's own experiences as an undergraduate. Amory Blaine's journey from prep school to college to the First World War is an account of "the lost generation." The young "romantic egotist" symbolizes what Fitzgerald so memorably described as "a new generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken." A pastiche of literary styles, this dazzling chronicle of youth remains bitingly relevant decades later.
"This Side of Paradise commits almost every sin that a novel can possibly commit," wrote Edmund Wilson. "But it does not commit the unpardonable sin: it does not fail to live. The whole preposterous farrago is animated with life."
Susan Orlean is the author of The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, The Orchid Thief, and Saturday Night. She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She lives in New York City.
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