Book One[note: all page references refer to the Penguin 1998 edition]
The American Rosemary Hoyt, star of the film "Daddy's Girl", is visiting the French Riviera in 1925. She surveys the beach and makes friends with the two groups who litter it - the white people (Mrs Abrams, the McKiscos, Mr Dumphrey and Campion) and the tanned people under the umbrella (the Divers and the Norths). After a brief unwanted meeting with the gauche 'white' people Rosemary makes friends with the Divers and their entourage and spends her day in their leisured company and falls in love with them, especially Dick. After her mother's encouragement and economic sense she visits Earl Brady, the movie director, and we are shown a distant American movie-making world of money, glamour, lights and lust.
The focus then shifts to Villa Diana, Nicole and her idyllic garden, the Mediterranean sensuous beauty of the landscape, and Dick's plot to throw a really bad party. We are introduced to their world of superficial perfection and conviviality. He invites people from both beach groups, which Rosemary is initially confused by but takes Dick's behaviour as her lead. She defends them against the tense accusationary tones of Tommy Barban whose words repell her. She talks shop to Earl Brady whilst also listening to Nicole's conversation with Abe North and Tommy Barban and we are introduced to the more reckless and impetuous side of Abe's character as he jokes about sawing a waiter in half. The perfection and joviality of the evening, which Fitzgerald delineates in terms of magic, begins to fade when Nicole and Dick disappear. McKisco and Barban argue about politics and the war and Violet McKisco comes rushing in creating more of a stir, full of news but is silenced by the protective Tommy Barban. Dick dispels the tension and when he and Rosemary are alone he invites her to accompany them to Paris. She accepts and declares her love for him, which he dismisses: "You don't know what you want. You go and ask your mother what you want" (48) as if she were too young to know.
The next section follows the dinner party guests that night after leaving the Diver's home. Rosemary is sleepless and dreaming of a kiss with Dick. We are given some background on her financial background her economical sense according to her mother Mrs Speers - that of a boy. Rosemary in the eerie night hears Luis Campion crying, he speaks to her in cryptic enigmatic broken speech and tells Rosemary of the duel declared between Mr McKisco and Tommy Barban. Tommy defending the Divers against Violet McKisco's gossip of what she saw in the bathroom offends her husband and through drunkenness and bravado a duel is decided upon. All this is kept quiet from the Divers by Abe North. Rosemary, after her mother's prompting to take her own initiative, goes to watch with Luis Campion. They both miss. McKisco is sick with relief and Campion, who is watching in the bushes, dissolves into hysterics.
The next section centres on life in Paris: on luncheons, dinners and drinks and Rosemary and Nicole's shopping sprees. The group visits a battlefield trench where all the soldiers of the World War One are buried. Rosemary's love for Dick makes her unhappy. She drinks champagne in celebration of her eighteenth birthday and. Tipsy, forlorn, desperate and letting down her veil of manners and virginal modesty in her drunkenness, she implores Dick to kiss her. She passionately flings herself into the role of lover as she lusts and insists "I want you to do it now, take me, show me, I'm absolutely yours and I want to be" (75). He dismisses her with patronising patter and, the next day, Rosemary and Nicole meet to shop again. Rosemary shows the film of "Daddy's Girl" in the confidence that Dick is finally falling for her, despite the apparent father-complex highlighted by the film. Confident of the flattery she wishes to bestow, Rosemary announces that she has arranged a screen test for Dick. In the taxi once they get rid of Collis Clay, Rosemary and Dick visit the strange house of insincere ladies in rue Monsieur. Rosemary overhears some of them gossiping about the Divers and their 'liquid' entourage. They are united by the 'terrible' nature of the people in the house and Dick on his realisation of his desire for Rosemary sobs with guilt. Their kiss in the taxi would infer a happiness between them but Dick is plagued by the complicated nature of his relations with Nicole - she is never to find out "Nicole and I have to go on together. In a way that's more important than just wanting to go on" (86).
The group enjoy a ride in the car of the Shah of Persia and comedy and the fabulous dominate their evening as they tease the night concierge of the Ritz and build a waiter- trap. After their revels Abe refuses to go home and begins a drunken binge the night before he is due to leave Paris, so Abe, Mary
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