Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Tales of the Jazz Age is a collection of eleven stories. While the requesite cadre of flappers, fops, and dandies dally through a few of the tales, there are some interesting seques taken. The first collection of stories, My Last Flappers, are what I come to expect from Fitzgerald. Privileged middle to upper-middle class characters drinking and partying and the woes there in, sprinkled with some bandits and socialists along the way. There are tales of longing; Oh Russet Witch and The Lees of Happiness, which reminded me a bit of Vonnegut but without much of the humor and aliens. Those stories spoke of paths taken and those not taken and regrets into one’s waning age. I include the Strange Case of Benjamin Button with these, but that story itself is more fantifical and memorable; illiciting a more power reaction in me; yet a similar one. A telling of a life in reverse that unsurprisingly ends the same way but comfortingly without the regrets.
The inclusion of the rather odd Button is buffeted by a more fantifical tale: The Diamond As Big As the Ritz. This was a story I was completely unprepared for in this collection and quite a treat. More of and adventure, survivalist tale, Diamond is a story of a Pre Civil War plantation owner who set about with his wealth on quest of discovery and chanced upon a mountain that was literally a diamond. Packing up his family and slaves he creates a fortress at the at the peak of the moutain, a castle of jewels and extravagance; isolated from the rest of the world. He sends his children off to private school and that is where we meet the protagonist of the story: A Southern boy of meager, yet proud heritage who is invited to spend the Summer with his fellow classmate, the son of the antagonist. I won’t spoil the rest of the story here, suffice to say it is rather wild and thoroughly entertaining.
I will part with another tale that felt more at home in Western magazine, perchance written by Howard if not for the bit more of romance in this tale; Jemina. A veritible Hatfields vs McCoys kind of story in the south. While a bit comical, it was even more short and quick to end rather oddly.
Overall, I enjoyed the Tales of the Jazz Age.
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