Published by Blackstone Audio Genres: Classical, Fiction
A captivating story about the fabulously deceptive Jazz Age with a unique ensemble of characters.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fitzgerald’s elegantly simple work captures the spirit of the Jazz Age and embodies America’s obsessions with wealth, power, and the promise of new beginnings. – – Jay Gatsby is still in love with Daisy, whom he met during the war when he was penniless. Having made himself wealthy through illegal means, he now lives in a mansion across the bay from the home of Daisy Buchanan, who has since married for money. Holding on to his illusion of Daisy as perfect, he seeks to impress her with his wealth, and uses his new neighbor, Nick Carraway, (our narrator), to reach her. Daisy’s wealthy but boring husband is cheating on her. When his mistress is killed in an accident caused by Daisy, Gatsby covers for her and takes the blame. The result is a murder and an ending which reveals the failure of money to buy love or happiness.
I picked up Gatsby to try and satisfy a couple reading challenges and it’s come highly recommended to me from several people. Low and behold, then I see that the movie is coming out and I have to read it before I see it so my mind’s eye can paint it’s own untainted picture.
I loved the story, I liked that Jay Gatsby had a bit of a shady, mysterious past. How did he become a millionaire at such a young age and why is he still single? He harbors some secrets and a pining for another rich man’s wife, Daisy Buchanan. I enjoyed hearing about Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle and the elaborate parties he threw and when Gatsby and Daisy meet again for the first time, the scene is touching and poignant. Daisy is stuck married to an arrogant and adultering husband, Tom, the kind of character that makes my skin crawl (and not in a good way).
From seeing the movie trailer, the actress that plays Daisy is well cast. Her mesmerizing voice charms the men around her in the book, although the audiobook narrator’s voice does not do the character justice. Nick, the book’s narrator, did not seem very deep and his relationships with the other characters are rather superficial. Gatsby seems to use Nick as a pawn just to get closer to Nick’s cousin, Daisy.
While most of the time my enjoyment of a book really depends on my emotional attachment to the characters, for the Great Gatsby my enjoyment really stemmed from losing myself in a different lavish time with their fancy cars, fancy parties and fancy people with dark, mysterious secrets. I certainly see why this book is so popular, worth reading and I can’t wait to check out the movie too.
Fitzgerald’s style is eloquent and intriguing. I would definitely like to read more of his novels and the nonfiction and historical fiction accounts of his tumultous relationship with his wife Zelda.
“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” (Daisy talking about her daughter)
“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”
“I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.”
Have you read or seen Gatsby? Have you read any of Fitzgerald’s other novels or historical fiction about F. Scott and Zelda? Any other Jazz Age novels that you enjoyed or recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts, just leave me a comment! As always, happy reading!