Babylon Revisited is based of Fitzgerald’s real-life incident where his daughter, Scottie went to go live with his wife’s sister, Rosalind and her husband Newman. Fitzgerald was branded as the voice of the Jazz Age in the 1920’s with Zelda, his wife, famously known as the Last Flapper. They lived a lavish lifestyle which eventually led to Zelda being sent to a sanatorium in Switzerland. Rosalind then took Scottie as she felt that Fitzgerald was irresponsible and unfit to raise his daughter.
You can see the similarities between Fitzgerald’s lifestyle and the lifestyle of our hero, Charlie when they are at the top of their game in the 1920’s with quite a bit of wealth and running wild all over the city. By the end of 1929, they have both hit rock bottom, lost their wives and their daughters.
The plot of the story starts with Charlie sitting at the Ritz Bar in Paris having a conversation with Alix. Charlie inquires about his old friends with whom he used to party and decides to leave his address with Alix to pass along to his old friends. He then comes to the realisation that this is a mistake. In the 1920’s before the crash of the stock market, Charlie consumed an extravagant amount of alcohol and ran amok with his friends, giving hundreds of Francs to doormen and orchestras. Charlie realised that this past lifestyle led to his downfall in 1929.
The reader learns that Marion, Charlie’s sister in law has decided to adopt his daughter, Honoria as Marion deems Charlie unfit to raise her due to his wild past. She also blames Charlie for Helen, Charlie’s wife’s death. Helen had kissed another man which upset Charlie and he locked her outside in a snowstorm. Marion also resented both Charlie and Helen because she and her husband, Lincoln were struggling to get by while Charlie and Helen were spending a disgusting amount of money partying every night.
Charlie works tirelessly to prove to Marion that he is fit to care for his daughter and to take her back to Prague to live with him, he is revisited by two old friends who are hopelessly drunk and try persuade Charlie to join them for a night out. Charlie declines, however having witnessed the whole debacle, Marion decides that Charlie is not yet stable enough to raise his daughter alone.
Charlie is devasted and returns to the Ritz Bar where he continues to reminisce about his partying days with his wife and many friends, where none of them had any problems in the world except to sleep, wake up, drink and take drugs.
He calls Lincoln and enquires whether he really cannot take his daughter back, Lincoln replies that Marion is much too upset about the whole ordeal and Charlie will have to wait another 6 months to try again.
Description of main characters.
The story is based on Charlie Wales, the protagonist who was a wealthy man in the mid 1920’s and eventually lost everything with the collapse of the stock market in 1929. Once he finally regained his sobriety and became a somewhat successful businessman based in Prague, he felt he was responsible enough to try and get his daughter back from his sister in law, Marion Peters.
Helen Wales was Charlie Wale’s wife who died many years ago. Charlie and Helen were madly in love, but due to no reason at all, they destroyed their relationship. However, even though their marriage ended on bad terms, they did love each other. Helen appears loving in Charlie’s dreams.
Marion Peters is Helen’s sister. Marion blames Charlie for her sister’s death because he locked Helen out of the house on the night of a snowstorm. She felt Charlie was unfit to look after his daughter, Honoria and decided that she and her husband Lincoln would adopt her.
Honoria Wales is Charlie’s 9-year-old daughter. She is a smart young girl who thinks very deeply about unusual subjects for a 9 year old, such as love and money. She is perfectly happy with Marion, however, she does start to question why she doesn’t live with her father, who she loves very much.
Lincoln Peters is Marion’s husband. He understands Charlie’s predicament and is very sympathetic towards him, however he is loyal to Marion and takes her side.
Lorraine Quarrles is an old friend of Charlie’s. She has also lost all of her money but has decided to live like she is still rich. She reminds Charlie of what he used to be, whereas she is amused by his newfound sobriety.