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F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 in St Paul, Minnesota, and went to Princeton University, which he left in 1917 to join the army. He was said to have epitomized the Jazz Age, which he himself defined as 'a generation grown up to find all Gods dead, all wars fought, all faiths in man shaken'. In 1920 he married Zelda Sayre. Their traumatic marriage and her subsequent breakdowns became the leading influence on his writing. Among his publications were five novels, This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned, Tender is the Night and The Last Tycoon (his last and unfinished work); six volumes of short stories and The Crack Up, a selection of autobiographical pieces. Fitzgerald died suddenly in 1940. After his death The New York Times said of him that 'He was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a 'generation'. . . he might have interpreted and even guided them, as in their midle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.'
How can a reader not lose patience with Anthony and Gloria Patch, the "beautiful couple," as they squander their money, idle away their days, and drink themselves into blissful oblivion? Although the obvious parallel between the fictional Patches and the real-life Fitzgeralds is somewhat intriguing, anyone reading the book would be sorely tempted to close it long before the final scenes of degradation. Not so, however, with the audiobook. Peter Marinker's sympathetic narration is so effective that the listener, gradually and almost reluctantly, begins to feel a measure of compassion for Gloria and Anthony-almost as if they are naïve children who can't understand what is happening to them or why. Marinker's rendition of Gloria's soft voice is especially persuasive. By the end, it seems as if Fitzgerald's flawed second novel has been redeemed by audio. For most serious literature collections.-Jo Carr, Sarasota, Fla.