His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
Finding books which are brutally real and honest is a rarity and this book stands as a testimony for the above statement. Fitzgerald’s novel stays true to the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Era. You can simply feel the extravagance exuding from the pages. The atmosphere is packed with exuberance that it offers the perfect stage for all the characters, yes, even minor ones. ‘The Great Gatsby’s is essentially a fluently written book about an array of flawed and shady characters. The dismal tones add up to the glum lives of the protagonist and the supporting characters. However sparkling and promising the setting was, it had its fair share of hidden undertones to it. Although it is just below the 190 pages mark, it punches above its weight and does it in a terrific manner. One of the most appealing qualities of this book was its simplistic yet profound language. Nick Carraway’s narration supplements Gatsby’s mysterious aura and that aura will surely hook the readers from the word go. Every page is filled with symbolisms of varying degrees, recurrent motifs and a few hundred ‘Old sports’.
He had 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 external 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.
Narrated by Nick Carraway, the first chapter takes us to West Egg where an apartment is rented by him to live in, which, coincidentally is the very next house beside Gatsby’s, a person who throws lavish parties every Sunday. Nick is astounded by the sheer scale of Gatsby’s parties. After this, we are introduced to Tom and Daisy Buchanan along with Jordan Baker. The seemingly calm first few pages are disturbed when Myrtle Wilson, Tom’s mistress comes into the frame. Gatsby then meets Daisy, eventually rekindling the past and nothing stays the same from there on. A tide of revelations hit the readers face first after that.
The most depressing thing happens when someone you love immensely doesn’t love you for who you are but rather what you are: money and nothing else. Gatsby is the only character who seems to have his heart in the right place. The means he used to land himself in the upper strata of the society were, by no means straightforward. What with undercover handlings of undesirable substances and illegal businesses, but he does it for his one dear person or ‘memory’: Daisy Buchanan. Of course, Daisy Buchanan is every little thing her name itself suggests. Delicate and troubled. It may sound dichotomous but I have a very different take on Daisy. I felt for her when she says ‘Girls are born to be foolish’. However, the way she let Gatsby down in the end is just too heartbreaking. Just one word would have made all the difference. Tom Buchanan is despicable. Myrtle Wilson is sly and Jordan Baker is ambitious. Nick is the best character out of Gatsby’s many friends, if you can call them that. He has never seen such drama unfold and that makes him slightly likeable. Despite all the negative traits, the characters made this book the literary classic it is today. I can’t help but feel sorry for Gatsby. In the end, that was too high a price to pay for hanging onto only one dream.
She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked.
“It’s full of–” I hesitated.
“Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly.
That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money–that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it.
This book has been read by many generations as part of mandatory school reading, but I read it for the pleasure of enjoying it. Several metaphors did come to the fore. I have heard several people say that this book was all about the ‘American Dream’, yet it is applicable for every walk of life. Gatsby himself stands as a reminder of what happens when the world only cares for what you have with you. I would also like to add my two cents. Gastby’s identity begins in water and that is were it ends. Having a story come full circle is just too good.
It is only fitting that Fitzgerald received accolades for this book, at least after his death because this, right here is a benchmark in modern literature which cannot be rivalled. It is reminiscent of a by-gone era. Also, this review remains incomplete without this haunting quote:
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.