I know, I know, it’s been a long while, but I promise, I’m back now! Things have been more than a little crazy. But, since this weekend is the opening of what I am sure is a glorious rendition of The Great Gatsby in theaters across the nation, I wanted to pay tribute to one of Fitzgerald‘s lesser known works: The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.
This novella has the same flair for the dramatic and absurd indulgence as Gatsby, but this story is actually a retelling of an old fairy tale, The Glass Mountain. It’s once again the neighbor’s point of view (after a fashion) of a young lad who is befriended by the family that is at the crux of the story. He is invited by a mysterious schoolmate to visit his family’s hidden home which is actually built on top an enormous diamond in an inaccessible portion of the Rockies. Our protagonist marvels at the splendor, falls in love with the sister, and eventually escapes the mountain fortress with the skin on his back barely intact.
I personally found this little novella to be quite enjoyable. Even moreso than The Great Gatsby. While I enjoyed the ludicrous nature of the parties and Gatsby himself, I struggled to identify with the story in any fashion. But the protagonist of Diamond is different. I could really sink into this little fantasy world and enjoy it to its fullest, with Fitzgerald’s flair and verbosity serving well to emphasize the fairy tale underpinnings.
You can find this in various formats, both print and digital, but my favorite is by the Melville House Art of the Novella series. They are gorgeous little books and I am determined to collect them all at some point. And I am seriously tempted by the subscription option…