May 8, 2013

I finished reading The Great Gatsby yesterday.

And, it is a truly smashing novella; a tiny tour de force, if you will.

Honestly, I think Fitzgerald goes a little overboard sometimes, tries to pack so much style and attitude in to it that it can come off as if he is a little in love with the sound of his own voice.  That is forgivable though because the book is so good, and it is extremely typical of great young men writers in their twenties.

Man, F Scott F, how'd you get so bitter?

My gosh, he is certainly heavy with the similes and metaphors, though? Early in the book there appear to be at least two or three per page! Most of these are jaw-droppingly gorgeous, i.e. the simile about children leaving the street at dusk; or, the metaphor about the row of houses on a street like a birthday cake, etc, ... There are a few clunkers, too, but not many.

I also love our narrator, and his sly way of passing judgement on all these really awful people that he spends the Summer with.  I love the incredibly voyeuristic style that Nick Carraway employs to tell his tale.  I love the fact that Carraway, himself, the one passing judgement on these folks, is really a pretty despicable person, too.  I love Carraway's whole "the other things I did that Summer" passage, as well:  He kept signing love to his girl back West, even though he kept thinking of the "moustache of sweat" on Jordan Baker's lip while he did it; that he had another girl until her brother starting looking at him sideways; that he cares for Jordan Baker despite the fact that she is a liar and a cheat -- in fact, Carraway goes on to say that lying and cheating is to be expected of all young attractive women.  I also love how all "the help" are portrayed throughout the book, as rude, idiotic, stuck-up buffoons.  Even Carraway's personal "help" is only ever referred to as "The Finn."  We never learn their name.

This is an extremely cynical book, a real indictment of wealthy America.  There is really not a single likable person in the whole novella.  Carraway tries to paint a pretty picture of Daisy Buchanan, but by the end, one gets the feeling that Carraway is trying just a little too hard; that most likely, Carraway, is probably in love with his second cousin, which has blinded him to Daisy's very silly and slight nature.

I am so glad I have finally read the book.  If I had read it in High School it probably would have been wasted on me.  The Great Gatsby is a true American Masterpiece.

(Now back to Parade's End!)

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