"Required reading"The New Yoker
"Tender is the Night, the book that caused F Scott Fitzgerald the most artistic heartache, was neither a critical nor a commercial success when it was first published in 1934. But its reputation has, rightly, grown and it remains one of my favourite books, suffused as it is with both the glamour and poignancy of Fitzgerald's own life: in particular, the failure of his marriage to the lovely, unbalanced Zelda and his acute sense of himself as a great and a ruined artist."The Independent
Tender Is the Night is the fourth and final novel completed by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. The title is taken from the poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats.
In 1932, Fitzgerald's wife Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was hospitalized for schizophrenia in Baltimore, Maryland. The author rented the La Paix estate in the suburb of Towson to write this story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist, and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. It was Fitzgerald's first novel in nine years and the last that he would complete. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald conceived the book, were the darkest years of his life, and the novel's bleakness reflects his own experiences. The novel almost mirrors the events of Fitzgerald and Zelda's lives, as characters are pulled and put back into mental care, and the male figure, Dick Diver, starts his descent into alcoholism. While working on the book, Fitzgerald was beset with financial difficulties. He borrowed money from both his editor and his agent and wrote short stories for commercial magazines.
Fitzgerald considered Tender Is the Night to be his greatest work. Although it received a tepid response upon release, it has grown in acclaim over the years and is widely regarded as among Fitzgerald's best books. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked the novel 28th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.