A Story a Day #32: F. Scott Fitzgerald
March 15th, 2020
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A widowed man goes to Paris to visit his daughter who is living with his sister-in-law and her husband. As the story continues, it is revealed that this man used to have issues with drinking and partying which led to him giving up his daughter after his wife died. Lately, however, he seems to have gotten his life back together. While out with his daughter, he runs into a couple that he used to hang out with during his partying days. They want to hang out again but he keeps evading them. The narrator has nearly convinced his sister-in-law to let him have custody of his daugther again despite her vendetta against him. Unfortunately, the couple somehow finds their house and visits them. This shakes the sister-in-law and apparently makes her ill. They say it will be another six months before they can revisit the idea of letting him have his daughter.
Everyone knows F. Scott Fitzgerald for The Great Gatsby, a tale of excess and deception. This story functions along many of the same themes as that famous novel and explores the pitfalls and disappointments of such a lifestyle. I've read this story before, but to be honest, I didn't remember it well. It must have been at least a few years. All I remembered was that a young girl was involved.
What I think is most interesting about Fitzgerald's work, both Gatsby and this story, are how he deals with the realities of this era. Most people will remember Fitzgerald as being a wild party boy who galavanted around Europe with his fancy wife. While these things do happen, or are alluded to, in his stories, they aren't really about that. What they are about are the consequences of those actions. In Gatsby, we see the destructive effects of desire and distance that money and parties can create within people. In this story, we see how families can be torn apart by bad decisions and how these can haunt lives even years in the future.