‘The Baby Party’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Baby Party by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

The magic trick:

Streamlined writing; easy-to-imagine scenes

F is for Fitzgerald.

It’s kind of strange to think this story published the same year as The Great Gatsby. It’s such lightweight stuff in comparison.

That said, I did enjoy it.

And certainly, it feels like the template for John Cheever’s Shady Hill of two and three decades later.

Pretty good when your minor stories are inspiring the great fiction of 30 years later.

Anyway, the writing here is remarkably clear. It’s so easy to picture every scene.

No fluff in the wording.

One action or description leads to the next.

The observations are precise and immediately relatable.

It’s just very, very good writing.

And that’s quite a trick on Fitzgerald’s part.

The selection:

Edith stood near the door talking to Mrs. Markey, and keeping one eye on the tiny figure in the pink dress. She did not care for Mrs. Markey; she considered her both snippy and common, but John and Joe Markey were congenial and went in together on the commuting train every morning, so the two women kept up an elaborate pretense of warm amity. They were always reproaching each other for “not coming to see me,” and they were always planning the kind of parties that began with “You’ll have to come to dinner with us soon, and we’ll go in to the theater,” but never matured further.


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