The Diamond As Big As the Ritz: (1896-1940) (Travelman Science Fiction)

ISBN: 1860920330
ISBN 13: 9781860920332
By: F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Reader's Thoughts


Second in my novella-a-day reading challenge was another Fitzgerald, the fantastical, dreamlike The Diamond as Big as the Ritz. This book is like no other I’ve ever read. It’s a modern Fitzgerald fantasy.The premise also shows themes of American luxury and privilege, but it’s much less depressing than my previously-reviewed May Day. Imagine you’re a privileged teenager at a fancy prep school and a fellow student brings you home for the holidays. On the way there, he tells you that his father owns a diamond “bigger than the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.” A single diamond bigger than a building. What would you think?That’s the situation John T. Unger finds himself in when his friend, Percy Washington, brings him home to the “only five square miles of land in the country that’s never been surveyed.” It’s a long story, and I won’t spoil it for ya, but the Washington family basically has hidden itself from the rest of America, protecting this gigantic single diamond that is the size of a mountain and camouflaged as one.The overwhelming wealth of the Washington family means indescribable luxuries that take on the quality of magic. Percy is pampered and petted by the descendants of pre-Civil War slaves who never learned they had been freed. Percy is mesmerized by the opulence around him, further heightened by the fact that no one knows this place exists.“Afterward John remembered that first night as a daze of many colours, of quick sensory impressions, of music soft as a voice in love, and of the beauty of things, lights and shadows, and motions and faces. There was a white–haired man who stood drinking a many–hued cordial from a crystal thimble set on a golden stem. There was a girl with a flowery face, dressed like Titania with braided sapphires in her hair. There was a room where the solid, soft gold of the walls yielded to the pressure of his hand, and a room that was like a platonic conception of the ultimate prison—ceiling, floor, and all, it was lined with an unbroken mass of diamonds, diamonds of every size and shape, until, lit with tail violet lamps in the corners, it dazzled the eyes with a whiteness that could be compared only with itself, beyond human wish, or dream.”There are so many themes at play here but now is not the time to parse them. It’s a different Fitzgerald than the one to which I’ve become accustomed, but this book, more than anything, makes you feel like you’re floating. It’s like a dream, sometimes morphing into a nightmare, but never real, hovering on the fringes of your sparking imagination.

Kevin Schuster

This book is filled with allegories. Reading it just once won't do.

Maria Guzman

I admit, I never really enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby when I read it so many years ago and has never read any other books by F. Scott Fitzgerald. With the movie coming out though, I want to take another look at his writings and chose to read this novella. Boy, I'm glad I did.This book is truly entertaining and funny with a dark twist towards the end. Be prepared to be wowed with the grandeur that the author described a house thar sits on a mountain made of diamond, a house and cars similar to Richie Rich's and a bath that sounds like the prefect bathroom in Hogwarts. But it's not only the riches that made this book interesting but what it did to the Washington family who owned (and tried very hard to conceal) this mountain. The family was born to this wealth and they were prisoners of this mountain. They like to think that they are good people with compassion and sense of duty but their moral compass is shaped by their circumstance. The Washingtons are willing to sacrifice friendship for self preservation and never blinks at murder to do so although it always make them sad. They took people prisoners for stumbling into the mountain but made sure they are comfortable. The patriarch even offered to kidnap the prisoners' family so they can be joined together and live happily in the mountain. It will be breeze to read this novella and something I recommend as an in-between book.

Erekle Gogoladze

წერის ძალიან მაგარი მანერა.ერთ-ერთი საუკეთესო short-story, რაც წამიკითხავს

Daniel Kukwa

Discovering this novella that was unknown to me, I dived in with confidence. The end result: what the hell was that? Take mythological archetypes & major slabs of irony and black humour, mix strongly with American dream tropes & Fitzgerald's keen eye for the absurdities of privilege...and the end result is a brief yet explosive literary cocktail that left my head spinning. It was fascinating from start to finish...but a dozen other impressions about this book are fighting for my attention. I wonder which one will finally win out...

Gertrude & Victoria

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz was suprisingly more interesting to read than Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby. These books, at least to me, seemed to be written by two different authors for two different readers. Although, the ending probably can't be considered a 'happy' one, it wasn't as dark as Gatsby either. What I liked most was Fitzgerald roaming, child-like imagination. This story was a fun read and I recommend it for younger readers - like students - who want to tackle Fitzgerald, but without all the seriousness accompanied by doing so.


Is this a story about the loss of youth and the disillusionment that must follow? I'm not sure, but I enjoyed this novella very much - a fun, fantastical story, almost sci-fi (and dark-humored). I didn't know FSF wrote anything like this. "Everybody's youth is a dream, a form of chemical madness."

Natasha Primaditta

Well, well. It's always nice to know the rise and fall of a wealthy upper class, right? Like most of Fitzgerald story, he also infused wealthiness and corruption within this one. In this particular story, John T. Unger met Percy Washington in Hades, an upper class private school for wealthy families. Washington then invites Unger to his house for the summer where series of events reveal the source and fate of the enormous wealth the Washington family displayed. For a short story, it's developing quickly, and escalated to an exaggerated level. There's only faint trace of Fitzgerald poetic proses in here where it were all at once sweet and forgettable. A story only good to pass time.


Really liked the social commentary about wealth discrepancies and the acts the insanely rich will go through to maintain their riches. I also like to parallel how john viewed the washingington's palace with how a middle class or lower middle class individual would likely view the properties of today's financial elite. However, this juxtaposition is prevalent enough without the description of diamond dinner plates and walls, but still the descriptions made the story more enjoyable. One could say that this story serves as a sort of cursor to gatsby, I feel like mr Buchanan and mr Washington are very much similar characters, same goes with daisy and kismine. In addition to the agreeable argument, the imagery was rather beautiful, even if it could become tiresome at times - I especially loved the description of the bath scene.

Ana Maria Rînceanu

Well look at that! Just when you think Fitzgerald has nothing more to show, you read this and realize his short stories are often better than his novels. The writing is superb and the themes explored are guaranteed to haunt you long after you've put the book down.

Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)

Classic short story.?!!! Why.?!! I didn't like the story at all. There is the unearthly description of a magnificent chateau,and all sort of ultimate luxuries.. But it's the only the house that is big,the mind of the inhabitants is narrow and cruel. By an act of fate,the once-rich people are left with nothing. The fall from top to bottom is an oft-used topic. I can't understand why this one is so popular.

Joel West

If you're not searching for the hidden complexities within this short story, you need to take another look.


Fitzgerald’s novella is a satire of supply-and-demand and the frailty of markets. As immense wealth is pitted against the risk of abject poverty, this tale reminds us that envy and greed are terribly unattractive.

Antonio Azar

These short stories were my first foray into Fitzgerald, and years later, I still relive them. His amazing style grabs you and never,ever lets go.. A delight.

Rebecca Jaroszewski

I loved this short story (novella?) far more than The Great Gatsby. It held so much in such a limited amount of pages.

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