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The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
Reviews Having reread this book for the first time in 20 years, I can confirm that there's a reason that it's considered one of the very best American novels. However, my reaction to the story was different than when I first read it in high school. I recall that back then I was hoping that Daisy and Gatsby's love story would ultimately yield a happy ending. Now, I found them both to be such shallow creatures that they inspired no pity. While I considered the characters to be emotionally stunted, that dooesn't mean I was not impressed with Fitzergerald's skillful rendering. As in most forms of art, in literature it is more difficult to accurately and interestingly portray nothingness than to describe a richly endowed subject.
At this more cynical age, I found Daisy to be a remarkable emotional void, and Gatsby's quest to pour all of his hopes and dreams into such a shallow cauldron only confirmed his own vapidity. One thing that hasn't changed in all these years is my amazement at Fitzgerald's ability to set a scene. His descriptive passages are truly poetic, and his command of word choice in unparalleled. All this made for a stimulating and delightful read. ================================================== I listened to this book over a few nights with my wife, after having read it first some sixteen years ago. It is a masterpiece, and known widely as such, but what surprised me on hearing it was how the book I'd remembered as terribly romantic was actually rather clear-eyed and dark. My wife, who had never read it, listened spell-bound, and at the end burst into tears at the sadness of it. A word about Scourby as reader - he is restrained but emotional, captures the personality of each character with a slightly different tone, and - most importantly for me - brings out the fact that the closing pages, which are often quoted out of context as deeply romantic, are in fact painfully cynical, a voice of disenchantment about the cost of America, not its promise. A masterpiece on the page and on tape. Can't recommend it too highly.
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