Some Unfinished Chaos

Arthur Krystal


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University of Virginia Press
12 September 2023
ISBN: 9780813950617
232 pages

From the publisher

While so many literary artists of earlier eras fall away, F. Scott Fitzgerald retains a hold on us, both through his work and through his life. There is something inscrutable in him, a fact he recognized himself and which New Yorker writer Arthur Krystal takes head-on in a biography that gives us the life-from a Minnesota upbringing to the most iconic rise and fall in American letters-but leaves the minutiae behind in search of a more penetrating analysis.

The Great Gatsby author was obsessed with measuring himself against an unforgiving panoply of artistic and material standards, resulting in a constantly shifting sense of himself-half triumphant, half shattered. Some Unfinished Chaos delivers, at last, a nuanced portrait-in Krystal's words, a layering of impressions-of a man who knew the rhythms and passions of his society, and who set it down in his imperishable stories while remaining a mystery even to himself.