Generally considered F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the ‘roaring twenties’ and a devastating exposé of the ‘Jazz Age’. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore of the American seaboard in the 1920s, to encounter Nick’s cousin Daisy, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery which surrounds him.
First published: 1925
The Great Gatsby is one of those classics that’s been on my to read list for ages. I bought a copy of the book in May last year, but didn’t get around to actually reading it until December, and part of the reason I read it then was because I needed a short book in order to reach my Goodreads challenge goal… However, I really did feel excited to finally read it, especially after hearing so many good things about it. My expectations were therefore also pretty high, and the novel lived up to its fame, in my opinion.
What I loved most about it is the writing style. I usually associate classics with a slow writing style that is at times hard to get through, but The Great Gatsby proved me wrong once again. I flew through this novel, and it had me immersed and captivated the entire time. There was nothing boring about this book to me, and I can’t say that about many classics, I must admit. The descriptions and dialogues are interesting and entertaining, and despite the brevity of the novel, it felt like a well-fleshed out story with round characters.
I don’t really know a lot about the “roaring twenties” or the “Jazz Age” so it was interesting to read about it, and I was amazed by the lavish parties Gatsby throws. It all sounded like tons of fun, although the disillusionment that came with the end of the novel did change that a little bit. The story is one of high ups and low downs, and I think the author established this in a masterful way.
As for the characters; I didn’t think any of them were very likeable. Of course, they weren’t all as horribly antagonistic as Tom Buchanan, but all of them had their (major) flaws, which I think only resulted in the story being even better. I enjoyed reading about Jay Gatsby, who is just a walking catastrophe waiting to happen, and seeing it through the eyes of the rather dull Nick Carraway made Gatsby seem even more luminous and extravagant.
I definitely understand why The Great Gatsby is considered a classic, and I’m glad to have finally read it!