A Short Trip Home by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1927)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror April 21, 2015
We are in Fitzgerald’s radiant world of a Cotillion Club dance, raccoon coats and high-buttoned shoes, chauffeurs, trains, and billiard palours. So what’s a ghost story doing here? And a story with a slash of glamour instead of the dark and dreary? A Short Trip Home is not one of Fitzgerald’s most notable short stories like The Ice Palace or Benjamin Button. Why would Fitzgerald want to write a ghost story? I’ll let you stab a guess after you read this odd but entertaining adventure.
Eddie is our narrator, a college sophomore, home on Christmas break. He is falling for the romantic Ellen Baker, described as having a “bewitchment.” When a thin-faced man in a derby hat appears, poor Ellen becomes dazed by him. Maybe it’s his “air of being scarred” or his sinister but soundless huffy laugh. Whatever, Eddie is determined to save the mesmerized Ellen from this stranger and decides to find out exactly who the man is.
Some critics speculate that Fitzgerald was trying to imitate Poe with this first person narrative. I found the story to be more Hitchcockian. What do you think?
Read A Short Trip Home at Gutenberg.net.au
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