Sunday, October 2, 2011

F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

"He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was ..." The Great Gatsby (1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, stands among the greatest of all American fiction. Jay Gatsby's lavish lifestyle in a mansion on Long Island's gold coast encapsulates the spirit, excitement, and violence of the era Fitzgerald named 'the Jazz Age'. Impelled by his love for Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby seeks nothing less than to recapture the moment five years earlier when his best and brightest dreams - his 'unutterable visions' - seemed to be incarnated in her kiss. A moving portrayal of the power of romantic imagination, as well as the pathos and courage entailed in the pusuit of an unattainable dream, The Great Gatsby is a classic fiction of hope and disillusion. This edition is fully annotated with a fine Introduction incorporating new interpretation and detailing Fitzgerald's struggle to write the novel, its critical reception and its significance for future generations.

Comment: I didn't like this book. I understand its appeal and the writing is something exceptional, but in the end, the story didn't grab me. I understand why it is considered a classic, but the whole drama seems to be a greek drama but not completely. I didn't care much for the characters or why they acted the way they did. I recognize why it's considered a masterpiece and at the time it surely was innovative and unique, but today it's not that interesting. I admit it, it remains fresh because the human nature never stops to get lower and lower in certain aspects, but as an entertaining I was bored and had to force myself to keep going. It only seemed better close to the end end, although how it ended wasn't exactly a surprise.

One things is good, the author's prose, it's interesting and some sentences ring true somehow. My favourite sentences are the following, perfect examples and summaries of Tom and Daisy, the two selfish characters in the story. Apart from this, the book will be a greyish cloud in my brain in the future, for sure. Thankfully, my edition had notes and I understood better some things, but still.

"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -they smashed things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..."


  1. That's an excellent quote! It certainly described Tom and Daisy to a "t." Didn't it? I agree that Fitzgerald's prose was exceptional. I hated this book... but I think it's because of the way he exposed human nature and the hateful characters. It's certainly an uncomfortable read.

  2. Well, I disliked it more becauae it's a bit boring and I had some trouble getting into it at first.
    I'm glad I know what happens though and also now that it's read, I won't have to wonder anymore.