Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald


The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby's youthful neighbour, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald's best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair. 


To kick start 2013 I have chosen a book fitting of the grandeur of a new year’s party. Something from the roaring twenties where the girls were flappers and the booze was illegal. If you guessed right I seriously applauded you but don’t despair if you did not…. Actually please do since this post has a title and a clear picture here telling what it is about.
I have read The Great Gatsby about a 100 times, don’t think I am joking I had to do it for my A-Levels and as a 16 year old I failed to see the beauty of this book but after reading Dracula I think my standards or maybe my desire to see the good in books increased ten folds and suddenly Nick’s tale seemed so much more smarter and elaborate.

The story is about Jay Gatsby, a seemingly nice and decent nouveau riche man in East Egg of New York city. The story is written in the style of a frames narrative which basically means a story within a story, Nick Carraway is narrating the story after the events in the story have already come to pass, in other words in retrospect. While Nick seems like a nice enough man to begin with I have to realise that he has definitely put on his thick rose coloured glasses especially when it comes to Gatsby. Fitzgerald does a very good job of warping your perspective so that you see only what he wants you to see. At first it was how admirable Gatsby really is but as the story progresses you come to doubt not just Gatsby but Nick’s capability as a narrator.

This story embodies a lot of different things, Gatsby’s rejection by the Blue Blood society, his love for daisy and his inability to get her back but most of this entire book is about that illusive American dream and in away the most heart breaking thing about this book is how even from the beginning you know it is not going to happen but you hope anyway. 

As books go it is a very clever one with class division, lost love, mysterious past and some pretty homoerotic compliments from dear old Nick about the beauty that is Gatsby, all of this coupled with uncertainty of the future makes this book very enjoyable to read especially if you like your American history.

I realise that there is going to be yet another adaption of this book hitting the big screen soon and while I am looking forward to seeing D’Caprio I am a little reserved for one because this is the fourth adaptation and I am not a big fan of remakes because let’s face it more than 50% of the time the remakes completely destroy the integrity of the book as opposed to about 90% of film adaptations which completely and utterly kill the books.

I give this book 4 out of 5 because it is a fascinating look into the cultural and social aspects of 1920s America.

Product Detail
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions
Language: English

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