F. Scott Fitzgerald: Crazy Sunday (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 44)

Q♠ Q♠ Q♠ Q♠ Q♠ Q♠ Q♠ Q♠

The singing reached Joel vaguely; he felt happy and friendly toward all the people gathered there, people of bravery and industry, superior to a bourgeoisie that outdid them in ignorance and loose living, risen to a position of the highest prominence in a nation that for a decade had wanted only to be entertained. He liked them – he loved them. Great waves of good feeling flowed through him.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Crazy Sunday” has been anthologized frequently and found its way, via John Updike, into The Best Short Stories of the Century. Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors and while I understand why this story could be considered great, it’s not my favorite of his stories.


Joel, a Hollywood writer sometime in the 1930’s, gets invited to cocktail parties on Sundays by the wife of his boss, Miles. There’s an odd sort of triangle here in that Joel is in love with Miles’ wife, Miles’ wife loves Miles, and Miles is having an affair with another woman. The intriguing part is that none of this is a secret from any of them.

On the one hand, Fitzgerald’s writing-brilliant, as it almost always is – reveals all this information with a detailed restraint. He’s always been one to write about a good party or write about a bad party in a good way. The stuffiness of the Sunday cocktail parties at Miles’ house contrasts well with the intimate details of these three characters’ desires.

Then, out of the blue (literally) tragedy strikes. This is the part of the plot that makes me less than enthusiastic about the story as a whole. The beautiful restraint with which Fitzgerald writes gets blown away with something overly dramatic. Perhaps, I need to read the story again to get more of a clue as to why this story is great in the opinions of many.

Have you read this story? I would love to find out what you thought of it!

I read this story when I drew the Queen of Spades for Week 44 of my Deal Me In 2016 short story project. My Deal Me In 2016 list can be found here. Deal Me In is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.


6 responses to “F. Scott Fitzgerald: Crazy Sunday (Deal Me In 2016 – Week 44)

  1. Hi Dale, it’s been a few years now, but I also read this story for DMI back in 2013. My thoughts seem quite similar to yours, though I think you have done a more eloquent job of summarizing it – and Fitzgerald – than I did. My post is at https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/lazy-saturday-crazy-sunday/ if you’d like to see again.

    Btw my reading group at work that reads short stories or essays has adopted the Best American Short Stories of the Century as our official anthology. 🙂

    • I just reread your post and I now remember it. I loved the way you tied in the way you spend your weekend mornings. I currently work M-Sat and crave the (sort of) early hours of Sunday to read. Overall, I’ve been very satisfied with the Best American Short Stories of the Century. I’d love to hear about your short story reading group at work!

  2. Nope, haven’t read this one, or if I have, I don’t remember it.. I just found out there’s a collection of previously unpublished Fitzgerald stories coming out next year! You can read about it here 🙂 I’m excited to see what it’s like!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s