Words from the achiever
“I was a good student but I never really read for pleasure much. I never got what that was about until I discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald in the tenth grade and then had to write a ten page report, and that was a very thrilling assignment for me. And by the time I got out of high school I was completely versed in Fitzgerald and thought being a writer would be very exciting. Fitzgerald went to Princeton and that is the primary reason I went to Princeton.When I went off to college, all these papers of Max Perkins had just been delivered to Princeton. There was another great stroke of good fortune that literally fell from the heavens. I was sitting down every day going through the actual letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, going through the original draft of The Great Gatsby, the galley proofs with suggestions from this quiet editor named Max Perkins and seeing how the next draft of the book would change. I seized upon this idea of writing about Maxwell Perkins because in my Fitzgerald research I kept finding Perkins popping up everywhere. And for seven years I worked probably 350 days a year on that book.”
About the book
Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, the story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, set against the high life of the Roaring Twenties.
There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city, between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants including an extra gardener toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden shears, repairing the ravages of the night before.