Other than that, I can't figure out how I feel about it. Conventionally, probably. I mean, I expect most everybody feels that the opening chapters, when we see the Gausse's crowd through Rosemary's eyes, gradually leading up to her/our encounters with Dick and Nicole Diver, are the most memorable. And it's no coincidence that those are the most Gatsby-like chapters, full of rich and beautiful people doing things that only rich and beautiful people can.
Once we start to see life from Dick and Nicole's perspective, they lose a lot of their appeal. Which is, of course, part of Fitzgerald's brilliance in this book: he's destroying their glamor for us, by showing us the insecurities and instabilities that lie behind it.
But that's not quite right, because if he had effectively destroyed their glamor for me, wouldn't I remember the opening scenes a little less fondly? And yet a passage like this one floors me still (p. 21 of the Scribner paperback):
Simultaneously the whole party moved toward the water, supper-ready from the long, forced inaction, passing from the heat to the cool with the gourmandise of a tingling curry eaten with chilled white wine. The Divers' day was spaced like the day of the older civilizations to yield the utmost from the materials at hand, and to give all the transitions their full value...I mean, no matter how much skepticism Fitzgerald turns toward this kind of luxurious living, it's still what he's best at describing. Maybe he's good at it because he's skeptical of it, but as Greil Marcus once wrote about somebody else in a different context, I think Fitzgerald's attitude toward it is a loud yes and a quiet no, rather than the other way around...
In that passage I love, by the way, how he translates all of the Divers' pleasure-taking into foodie terms. They consume their days with the discernment and deliberation of a gourmet.
There's another metaphor he uses for it, at least twice, that of curating. On p. 258, describing the Divers moving back to the Riviera and the obscene number of possessions they take with them, he notes that "Nicole was capable of being curator of it all." And then he proceeds to list them all.
You see this term popping up these days, too. I don't know if Fitzgerald invented this usage, but it's a brilliant one in his book, because it perfectly captures the self-absorption of the hedonist who in his/her mind gives his/her material indulgences the dignity of scholarly or aesthetic pursuits. That is, there are certain objects, and certain collections of objects, and certain settings for those collections, that require and deserve the kind of discernment and care that justify the term "curator" - but your luggage ain't it. Your iTunes playlist ain't it. Your spice rack ain't it.
My blog ain't it.