PAPERBACK; 180 P. SCRIBNER, 2004/1925 SOURCE: PURCHASED
Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the ‘roaring twenties’ and a devastating exposé of the shallowness of the ‘Jazz Age’. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920’s, to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery which surrounds him.
Well wasn’t this a quick read! With only 122 pages, The Great Gatsby feels more like a novella compared to some thicker classics. However, Fitzgerald’s style and language create a wholesome picture with just flickers of thoughts, quick in passing but creating long lasting images. The pace of the novel is at times quick and at times it lingers like a hot summer afternoon. I started reading The Great Gatsby on a Wednesday morning and woke up early the next day to finish it.
The story follows Nick Carraway, a young man from the Midwest who arrives to New York with the plan of working and studying bonds. He soon meets the flickering society of the city and is drawn to its dramatic ways, although for most part of the book he remains passively at the side, just watching others. The story is told from Nick’s point of view and in the course of the novel we meet several characters who all embody the 1920’s golden Jazz Age.
Despite the fact that the book is short and a fairly easy to read, the story takes a time to get into. To classify the book only as a tragic love story would be insufficient because the book has so many levels. More than anything, I’d say that the book is a description of the time period and of the problems encountered by the new generation. When I started to read the book I was under the impression that it would be more of a love story than it turned out to be, but I can’t say I was disappointed by the book. The style however left many questions unanswered and I feel that the book didn’t completely reveal itself to me at the first read.
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.