‘All eighteen short fictions collected here were lost in one sense or another: physically lost, coming to light only recently; lost in the turbulence of Fitzgerald’s later life; lost to readers because his editors sometimes did not understand what he was trying to write. These fascinating stories offer a new insight into the arc of Fitzgerald’s career, and demonstrate his stylistic agility and imaginative power as a writer at the forefront of Modern literature. ‘There are ostensibly bleak currents running through these stories … but what really makes an impression is the humour… In the period he was writing these stories he talked of his desire to open up a “new vein” in his writing.’
Like many fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I expect, I was very excited to get my hands on I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories. Released last year, the volume is comprised of eighteen stories in all, including two uncollected fragments; they are the ‘last remaining unpublished short stories’ which will be published. Fitzgerald was prolific in writing short stories, and also a shrewd fellow; he recognised that he could make a great deal more money more quickly in selling them to magazines, than he could with writing and then serialising a full-length novel.
A lot of the tales in I’d Die for You were rejected by editors who had previously published his work; some are a little experimental, and veer away from the themes and character studies which seem characteristic of Fitzgerald’s prose. Each of the stories is preceded with details of its writing process, and details those magazines which Fitzgerald approached to publish them.
As I expected, some of the stories here are far better than others, but each has a lot to discover and discuss. Overall, the quality is unsurprisingly high, and it is fascinating to chart Fitzgerald’s progress as a short story writer. It is clear to the discerning reader that Fitzgerald refined early techniques over time, and a lot of these fragments and short stories are echoed within the likes of The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night. I’d Die for You is a must read for all fans of Fitzgerald’s longer work, and is sure to make the perfect gift.