One or two weeks ago, I got a song stuck in my head. Well, not so much a song, but a fragment of it; and when I say “fragment”, I mean the tiniest fragment. All I knew was that fragment – a sort of “mmm-Mm” humming sound, which I couldn’t even Google, as I would for other song lyrics – and that it was by Rudimental, as I remembered hearing it at their concert.
I went onto Youtube, hoping that something would prompt my memory, or that I would just find it. I think it was the third or fourth try that gave me the eureka moment: the song was “Bloodstream” by Rudimental and Ed Sheeran. Rudimental had performed it at their concert, but I hadn’t listened to it much before or after it (tending, instead, to focus on their other songs, like “Rumour Mill”, “We the Generation”, “Love Ain’t Just a Word”, “Waiting All Night” – and I could go on forever…) so I wasn’t really familiar with the song “Bloodstream”.
But that’s all changed now.
It is probably my most listened-to song of the last fortnight, and it is definitely the most played of this last week. I think it is a strange yet wonderful coincidence that this song has come along right when I was finishing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. I feel like the song really complements the book, particularly the end of Book II, leading into Book III, and right through to the end. That’s what I thought, anyway. Maybe that’s why the song reappeared in my mind when it did.
Part of me reckons that listening to “Bloodstream” over and over again (and maybe, also, some other things going on in my life) actually helped to enhance the experience of reading TITN. Individually, they both gave me a feeling of brazen drunkenness, and I reckon they fed off each other to elevate this to a sort of glorious brazen drunkenness.
I’ve already written my general thoughts on the novel, and given it high praise, so I won’t go through all of that again. Perhaps I will just add, however, as a follow up to the last paragraph of that post, that I would definitely happily read it again – there’s no doubt about that.
Further to that, I want to add, in fairness, that I wasn’t immediately captured by TITN in terms of its story. The edition I read is based on the original novel published by Fitzgerald, not the revised one where he’d moved certain chapters around to a more logical (and chronological) order. It was a little confusing because it seems to start out as a story about Rosemary Hoyt, but is really a story about Dick Diver and Nicole Warren. (You also have to remember that I knew nothing about TITN before I started reading it.)
It saddens me a little, but I do understand why some people mightn’t like TITN, as evidenced by negative reviews on GoodReads, which seem to mostly criticise the characters for being unlikeable. Sometimes I think that maybe part of me is just drawn to tragic stories, but I couldn’t not like the main characters and sympathise with them. And perhaps, yes, the story is not instantly relatable for most people; but the emotions, the fears, the self-revelations – they certainly aren’t inaccessible.
This is going to leave me with such a book hangover. I’m going to use the week-end to recover, and maybe I’ll start a new book on Monday.