Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Year Published: 1925
Genre(s): Modernist, Jazz Age
Since completing university, I realised I’ve abandoned classic literature in favour of some more generic or commercial novel. So to encourage or force myself to continue reading classic novels, plays and poetry, I’ve decided to take part in a meme known as “Flashback Friday”. On the last Friday of every month, I will upload a book review of an older or classic novel. Last month’s choice was Jane Austen’s Persuasion (Which you can read here). Since we’re in the party season and less than a week away to the New Year, I thought I would write a review of a novel that features some of the most extravagant party scenes; The Great Gatsby
I first picked this up when I was sixteen as it was a set text in my English A levels. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it back then, it frustrates me that I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. In truth, The Great Gatsby made me completely change the way in which I read books, or indeed, any piece of literature and is one of the reasons I chose to pursue an English degree. When I opened this to reread it a flood of nostalgia hit me like a yellow car (wink wink if you got that reference).
Set in 1920’s America during the decadent Jazz age. Nick Carraway, protagonist and narrator of the story moves to New York to pursue a business in the bonds market (an allusion to the crash and depression of ‘29). He meets up with his second cousin, Daisy Buchanan, her brutal husband, Tom Buchanan and their friend, Jordan Baker. All the while, Nick hears of his enigmatic neighbour, Gatsby who throws outrageous and decadent parties. Nick finally meets Gatsby and discovers that Gatsby and Daisy were previously lovers until Gatsby had to leave for the Great War and Daisy married Tom. The parties are just a ruse and a way to gain Daisy’s attention and Gatsby befriends Nick in order to reunite with Daisy and rekindle the romance from the past.
What I love so much about this book is that it’s a mere nine chapters and manages to pack so much into those chapters. Every time I read it, I find something that I never realised was there before, or make a new connection, or read it with a different perspective. Fitzgerald is such an incredible writer and manages to make the reader sympathise with unlikeable characters but also make us relate to the novel. Let’s face it, who isn’t over an ex? Or pursuing a dream? The novel is bursting through the seams, and encapsulates themes such as obsessive love, pursuit of the past, tragedy, recklessness, nihilism. So if you’re interested in being challenged but also just want to sit down and enjoy a classic, then this is just the novel you need to read. I urge anyone who has not read this book to just give it a chance! I assure, you will NOT be disappointed.
The Bug’s Verdict 10/10!!