The Great Gatsby is number two on my list of greatest novels in the English Language, so it was about time I read it.
Fortunately I had chosen not to see the recent movie with Leonardo DiCaprio which received poor to mediocre reviews, but seeing the trailers in the theaters imprinted Leonardo DiCaprio’s face in my mind’s eye.
I expected a great novel and at the end I felt cheated. My first Fitzgerald book, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Yes, he is a masterful storyteller. He sets the scenes like few others and always seems to pick “le mot juste” when describing feelings. Yes, there are lessons to be learned from the writer Fitzgerald, and I will read some of his other books.
Gatsby is the narration of Nick Carraway, a young man from the Midwest who moves to New York to make a living as a salesman of bonds. By coincidence he ends up renting a house next door to the majestic mansion of an enigmatic millionaire, Jay Gatsby, who throws lavish parties. Eventually the two meet and Nick gets drawn into the decadent world of the 1920s in high society in New York. As Nick witnesses morality in the upper class, he becomes involved in their machinations, deceptions, dreams and – eventually crimes.
The Great Gatsby is actually quite a simple story, well told, and a quick read. Perhaps it was because I could not sympathize with any of the characters, or because society life in the 1920s in New York is alien to me, or because I am too jaded to care about romances of vapid women and empty men in their twenties and thirties, be that as it may, this novel didn’t connect with me.
I simply kept reading because it’s a huge classic, one of the greatest novels in the English language, a masterpiece written poetically by a master writer.
I respect all that.
To me it was a boring soap opera with rich people playing around doing stupid and illegal stuff playing 90 years ago.