After the war, the mysterious Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire pursues wealth, riches and the lady he lost to another man with stoic determination. When Gatsby finally does reunite with Daisy Buchanan, tragic events are set in motion. Told through the eyes of his detached and omnipresent neighbour and friend, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald’s succinct and powerful prose hints at the destruction and tragedy that awaits.
I know my little review of this book is irrelevant in amongst a sea of reviews and to be honest I was considering not even writing one but reading this book was an achievement for me so I decided to write one anyway! As I’m used to modern and current writing, this narrative did throw me a bit at first. I found it a little hard to gather enough steam to not only get into the book but understand it and live it out in my own mind but having said that, once I got in to it, I whizzed through it without an awful lot of trouble at all. Once I passed the initial, ‘Oh my God I’m reading one of the most famous classics known to man’, I very much enjoyed the exceptional writing style and the storyline.
Having seen the film I already knew what this book was about and although you’re supposed to read the book before the film and all that, I’m actually really glad I did this the other way around. Being set in an era and place I’m completely unfamiliar with, If I hadn’t seen the film and experienced the costumes, music and settings, I’m not scared to admit that I would have been extremely lost. Jay Gatsby’s character really is one in a million. He’s dominating, enchanting and completely addictive to read about. I love the scene where Nick meets him for the first time and spends an entire paragraph describing his smile. He says, “he smiled understandingly -much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the world external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour.” The book delves deep into Gatsby’s mysterious persona and despite his flawless outward façade, he really isn’t as ‘great’ as he seems. Unlike the film where all my attention was on Gatsby (wonder why?) I was far more drawn to Nick in the book and I completely adored his innocent and naïve character and despite the story being told by him, this really does come across beautifully from the way he narrates the book.
It’s such a beautifully written book that manages to capture the essence of the story entirely. I particularly liked how Gatsby’s house and his infamous parties were described. It instantly transports you to this unfamiliar world and makes you want to be a part of the glamour and drama which is their lives. For a book like The Great Gatsby, it doesn’t have to be long, unnecessary and complicated for you to get out of it what the author intended, which is why my review is fairly short too. There’s no need for me to go on and on about how wonderful it is because it’s not going to do it justice. Those mere 140 pages had so much life and wisdom in them it’s easy to understand why this is one of the most well-known classics ever written.