Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1 down, 99 to go)

...If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life. ~ Nick's surmise of Gatsby


This is the second time I've read The Great Gatsby. It is a modernist novel, set in New York during the roaring twenties. It is Nick Carraway's first-person narrative of his brief acquaintance with the mysterious and flamboyant Jay Gatsby. 


My Rating: 3 1/2 OF 5 STARS


I didn't care much for The Great Gatsby on my first read. I enjoyed it a bit more the second; I certainly admire Fitzgerald’s craft as a writer, but overall, I still found it depressing and without a hero. With this second reading, I found Tom a bit more absurd, Daisy a bit more dislikeable, Jordan a bit less dislikeable, and Nick, the closest thing to a hero, just as impotent as before. He has one glorious moment when he recalls a bit of advice from his father:


Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.


Good advice in and of itself, but since dear old dad is not principal to the story it seems a bit specious to ascribe to him the grand moment. Besides, I like Nick’s commentary even better.


Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. 


And lest I appear too sappy, I like almost equally as much, his tongue in cheek observation on the risk of applying such a grand and glorious ideal, that it made him,


...the victim of not a few veteran bores.


I confess, I don’t really get the end, “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly against the past.” Oh, I get how it may apply to Gatsby. Indeed, without searching for the exact quotation, Nick once said you can’t go back to the past, Gatsby rebuffed him and said of course you can or something very close to that. Gatsby was obsessed with a past that had vanished and determined to get back to it. In the end, he failed of course. And as I said…No Hero, No hope.


I doubt this shall be MY number 1, when the list is done.


Film Renditions: 2000 A&E movie version of The Great Gatsby with Toby Stephens as Gatsby and Mira Sorvino as Daisy has impressive casting and is very true to the book. 2013 version with Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby and Toby Maguire as Nick is also well cast, with great wardrobe, and a decent screen adaption, fairly true to the novel, but the soundtrack was ASTONISHINGLY HORRIBLE. I'm not quite hip enough to tell you what it was. It was rap, and/or hip hop, techno, stuff. Not period appropriate at all. It was truly baffling.



1 comment:

  1. Ahh the 2013 GG. I struggled with how OTT it was - the parties, the costumes, the food, the music. It was so fake it lost any chance of being believable.The moral got lost amonst the sequins and fireworks!

    Perhaps this is more a story about anti-heroes - false glory, false history & false hope, instead of no heroes and no hope ?

    Thanks for stopping by :-)


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