“Scott Fitzgerald’s mind was by no means wandering when he referred to Spring Flight. This novel by a Detroit newspaper man. Lee J. Smitts, we published in March, 1925, and its failure so discouraged Smitts that I don’t think he has attempted to publish a book since. Spring Flight struck all of us in my organization at the time as an uncommonly brilliant first novel, but its sale only reached 3,244 (not so bad, really, for a first novel, and after a few years it passed out of print.
It took me about 5 years to get the publication (above) into my grubby hands. I read the first 30 pages and found it insufferable. Reading critiques of the writer by Donald Keene and others they underscore some of the idiosyncrasies that are part of his attempts to write a truly proletarian story. One thing that makes it quite difficult is that characters are not given names, in order to remove their specificity and avoid the concept of individualism trumping the group. Or some other such lunacy. It makes for a tough slog though when everybody is "the old guy from Hokkaido" or "the man with the scar".
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