Sunday, August 26, 2012
The Great Gatsby
It's kind of nice to finish a super long novel and then read one that only takes me a few days.
I probably could have read The Great Gatsby in one sitting, but I had other obligations.
Like putting all my books back on the shelves because we moved all the furniture around in the house...I'm still not done with that.
But it's the weekend so I thought the piles of books could be ignored for a little while.
Besides, I have to arrange them in a semblance of the Dewey Decimal System.
So, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I thought I read this book while I was in high school, but maybe it was on my reading list and I never got around to it or something, because I honestly didn't recall any of the details. So when I stated in an earlier post that it was going to be a re-read, I guess I wasn't thinking. And thinking back, I didn't read much American literature; it was almost always English.
The thing I like best about Fitzgerald is his excellent lyricism. Some people just have a way with words, and he definitely does.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
Quotes like that are just absolutely beautiful.
Now on to the story. It isn't all that deep, really. Not at first, anyway. But as you read, learning about Jay Gatsby from Nick Carraway's point of view, you realize that's exactly the way Gatsby intends to be seen -- superficially. He hold these enormous parties to which only a few are ever invited but a myriad shows up. They party all night and, it seems, into the wee hours of the morning.
Nick's friends, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, are a youngish married couple who live across the bay from Gatsby. Little does Tom know that Gatsby only moved to Long Island so that he could be closer to Daisy, whom he has loved for some years now. (Was it six years? I think it was six. Anyway.) And of course, Tom has "another woman" too. I really don't know why so many people had to have affairs...whatever.
Most people have read this book because of high school literature classes, so I won't rehash the plot. I mainly want to state that this is the first book by F. Scott Fitzgerald that I read in its entirety, and I cannot wait to read more. He has a way of appearing to tell a superficial tale, but all of a sudden it gets gritty and real and it's not so superficial and glossed over anymore. And considering the era he was writing about...I think he captured the 1920s beautifully.
I'm not giving it five stars, but I will give it four. I think the reason I won't give it five is that for me it wasn't quite long enough. Upon finishing the book, I felt that there should have been an extra twenty pages or so...for what exactly, I'm not sure. But it seemed like something was missing at the end.