Monday, 8 April 2013

G is for The Great Gatsby [A Review] (A-Z Challenge)

Some regard The Great Gatsby as F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel. I cannot say otherwise, as this was my first exposure to his work. 'Fine', however, is too small a word to describe this novel. I became immersed immediately into the glittering, roaring twenties; the wonderful world of excess, money and ambition.
The story is seen from the viewpoint of Nick Carraway, who finds himself living across the street from Jay Gatsby's Long Island Sound mansion. His narration drew me into Gatsby's world of parties and his decadent lifestyle, wonderfully described using beautifully poetic language. I found myself re-reading whole paragraphs just for the sheer pleasure of it; this is not a book to be rushed.
Nick enters Gatsby's world by invitation and as their relationship develops, so too does the feeling that Nick is always on the outside looking in, never getting close to who Gatsby really is and where he has come from. Gatsby's past remains mysterious to the end and I always felt that whatever he was hiding would never fully come to light. And that's fine because, here, it's the journey that counts and not the destination. Gatsby is a self-made millionaire with a murky past. When he moves to Long Island Sound it is to be close the Daisy; his love of years ago.
Their relationship ended when he went to serve abroad and she ended up marrying a brutal and bullying man - Tom Buchanan. Now Gatsby is once again in pursuit of Daisy, with terrible consequences.
I found the characterisation and description of relationships to be most pleasing about this book: the quality of Fitzgerald's writing brings them to life. I had a similar experience when reading Brideshead Revisited recently. And now I see there is a film about to be released staring Leonardo Dicaprio and I can't wait. The story is simple but rich. I hope the film does it justice. I intend to review the film here in due course.
Do yourself a favour - buy this book, make yourself a coffee and enjoy!

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