Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is best known for his novels depicting the flamboyance and excess of the Jazz Age – a term he popularized. During his lifetime, he published four novels and 164 short stories. Although he achieved temporary popular success and fortune in the 1920s, Fitzgerald only received critical acclaim after his death and is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.

This collection includes four BBC Radio dramatisations of his novels, as well as readings of five of his short stories.

The Great Gatsby – Nick Carraway arrives in Long Island and is reacquainted with his distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan. He falls in with her wealthy crowd. His neighbour, the self-made and self-invented millionaire, Gatsby, is the man who has everything – but one thing will always be out of his reach.

Tender Is the Night – Between the First World War and the Wall Street Crash the French Riviera was the stylish place for wealthy Americans to visit. Among the most fashionable are psychoanalyst Dick Diver and his wife Nicole, who hold court at their villa. Into their circle comes Rosemary Hoyt, a young film star, who is instantly attracted to them, but understands little of the dark secrets that hold them together.

The Beautiful and Damned – Anthony Patch, presumptive heir to a vast fortune, marries renowned beauty, Gloria Gilbert. True socialites, the pair are the essence of glamour: a golden couple, spoiled and selfish, who descend through the wild partying of the Jazz Age into despair and alcoholism.

The Last Tycoon – Haunted by the death of his wife, 1930s Studio Head Monroe Stahr works eighteen hour days, each one a collision of talent meetings, set visits, script brainstorms and preview screenings. He’s the “last of the princes”, is making the studio millions and seems bullet proof. But then he meets the mesmerising Kathleen. As their affair plays out, we follow the disintegration of the great Hollywood legend, and witness the darker heart of the Hollywood machine as a paranoid fear of communism comes to the fore.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” performed by Scott Brick; “The Lost Decade,” performed by Paul Michael Garcia; “Three Hours between Planes,” performed by Jeff Cummings; “The Bridal Party,” performed by Grover Gardner; and “Babylon Revisited,” performed by Ray Porter.
First broadcast May 2007