Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1923
The magic trick:
Letting loose and having fun
It’s easy to forget, but F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work is often very funny. He can be angry, dour and oh-so-highfalutin, but also quite sarcastic, sardonic and silly. In “Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar,” and the ridiculous title should be a clue, he’s downright hilarious.
This is almost one of his society critiques. Almost one of his Northern-Southern worlds collide pieces. Almost one of his revels in the Jazz Age culture stories. Almost one of his O. Henry trick-ending romances. But mostly it’s just funny and should be enjoyed only as such.
On the first page, Jim and Hugo arrive from Georgia in a car that routinely falls apart into two pieces. That should be the reader’s cue to relax and laugh. And that’s quite a trick on Fitzgerald’s part.
She stared in amazement.
“Dice, Brassknuckles and Guitar?” she repeated in awe.
“What does it mean? What–do you sell ’em?”
“No mamm, I teach ’em. It’s a profession.”
“Dice, Brassknuckles and Guitar? What’s the J. M.?”
“That stands for Jazz Master.”
“But what is it? What’s it about?”