The living room was crowded to the doors with a set of tapestried furniture entirely too large for it so that to move about was to stumble continually over scenes of ladies swinging in the gardens of Versailles.
In a single sentence, Fitzgerald executes a devastating critique of Mrs. Wilson’s errors in taste, style and self-regard. I’ve never really noticed this sentence before this reading, but it’s really quite brutal. Again, that’s the joy of this book; each reading brings a new revelation, freighted with the hard-won knowledge that the reader accumulates between readings.
A favorite sentence from prior readings: “I have been drunk just twice in my life and the second time was that afternoon, so everything that happened has a dim hazy cast over it although until after eight o’clock the apartment was full of cheerful sun.” In actuality, Fitzgerald knew more than most men what it was like to be drunk, and he captures the spastic scene in the apartment through the eyes of a careful and experienced lush. I wonder if we are supposed to believe Nick’s virtuous claim that he’s only been drunk twice. I don’t.