Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The blurb: ‘One of the greatest works of American literature…a timeless evocation of the allure, corruption and carelessness of wealth’ The Times

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan. In shimmering prose, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby pursue his dream to its tragic conclusion.

‘A stunning illumination of the world…not only a miracle of talent but a triumph of technique’ Richard Yates

My review: As some people might know I work with books. This is as much detail as I’m going to go into. Now I have embarked on this career without an English Literature degree and there are countless people around me who have them and more in abundance. So this book and other classics I have been and will read, are all part of my continuing education into great literature. I’m in love with good stories you see and witty wordplay tends to leave me a little  unmoved.

However saying that The Great Gatsby did, in the end, win me over. There are some paragraphs describing the scenery of New York or West Egg that are without a doubt beautiful. Did my eyes glaze over whilst reading them half asleep on my commute home – yes. Unfortunately yards of descriptive prose are not one of my strong points. But underneath it all there is a compelling story here.

Gatsby is a man possessed, the social mores of the time do not allow for women’s rights to chose, to divorce easily or to demand divorce if their husband is unfaithful. I found Gatsby a dark and troubled character. The lives of those he effects and the stories of Nick the narrator, Tom and Daisy and Jordan and how they intertwine are very fascinating. The social mores of the time border on the vulgar obsession with wealth which leads more often than not to corruption. I can see why it’s a classic. It’s a perfect painting of 1920’s New York, the Jazz Age and the American Dream, something insubstantial and fleeting. Brilliant.

7 out of 10 stars! *******

BUY ME! The Great Gatsby (Wordsworth Classics)

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