May 7, 2010

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes writing about a book as widely read, discussed and analysed as The Great Gatsby makes me feel a bit silly and small. But then I remind myself that even though countless people have read it and written about it much more intelligently than I ever could before, nobody has ever read it with my eyes. This is worth what it’s worth, which is to say, not very much at all in the Grand Scale of Things. But sometimes we have no choice but to leave the Grand Scale of Things aside for a moment. I probably won’t have much to say about Gatsby that is new or especially perceptive, but my voice is all I have to offer. Also, because these things have been on my mind, I should warn you that this is as much a post about the experience of reading Gatsby as a twenty-something who somehow never encountered it in her formal education as it is about Gatsby itself.

So, The Great Gatsby: to be honest I also feel slightly silly even attempting a plot summary. But I’m going to anyway, mostly because I hate the assumption that “everybody” has read the classics – which often goes hand in hand with the implication that if you haven’t, well, shame on you, because you should have (and often there’s a third implication, which is that you deserve to have it spoiled for you). The “should” is relative, of course. I loved this book, and I believe that what is said between its pages matters. So obviously I do want to encourage those who haven’t read it yet to do so – but not by shaming people or by making them feel inadequate. The beauty of literature is that it has no due date.

Anyway, The Great Gatsby is narrated by Nick Carraway, a young man from the Midwest who, after the Great War, moves to New York to learn the bond business. He lives in a small house in Long Island, and eventually gets to know Jay Gatsby, the owner of the enormous mansion next door. Gatsby is known for the parties he throws – ‘roaring 20’s’ parties to which people often come and go without even having met the host. The novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby’s rise and downfall, of his relationship with Nick cousin’s Daisy, of Nick own life, and of the social atmosphere of the 1920’s.

As you can probably tell by the tone of my opening paragraphs, I did let this novel’s classic status get between me and the text to some extent—but only to some extent. I suppose that part of the reason why I did is the fact that I don’t feel completely at ease in its cultural and historical context, and so I worried (as I do much more often with American classics than with European ones) that I was missing something. I have little doubt that I did miss things, but what I didn’t miss was enough to move me. And anyway, most of these concerns happened in retrospect—they’re happening right now, as I sit here and attempt to write this. As I read The Great Gatsby, I did feel like I was alone with the text. Not alone in the sense that I could dissociate it from its cultural or historical context (which I don’t even feel that I should do), but alone in the sense that I was able to let it touch me personally (which is what I always hope that books old and new will do).

I can see how Gatsby is a novel about modernity and money, about leisure and superficiality, about cars and telephones and the stock-market and the prohibition. They’re there in the next, and they do matter. The sociological angle matters, but the book actually touched me on a much more personal level (not that the above isn’t personal, of course, as these things do impact people. So perhaps the distinction is altogether artificial). If you were to ask me what the one feeling I take away from Gatsby is (and let us momentarily ignore the fact that even attempting to do this horribly reduces the novel’s complexity), I would probably say that it’s the intense loneliness of it all.

I’m actually not completely sure if I was supposed to have taken the character’s relationships seriously, or as seriously as I took them anyway. But I couldn’t help myself: I took Nick and Jordan’s conflicted feelings for each other seriously. I took Daisy and Gatsby’s love story seriously. And I took Daisy’s own seemingly inconsistent feelings more seriously than anything else. I can see how she and Tom often play with people; I can see through the superficiality of their world. But I’m interested in what remains there after seeing through it all, if that makes sense.

Jay Gatsby’s feelings for Daisy interested me because of what they say about the idealisation of a person and its inevitably dehumanising effects. Their love story is an example of what happens when living, breathing human beings begin to stand for ideas, for dreams, for a moment in the past—what happens, of course, is that they become commodities. This is what Gatsby does to Daisy, but he’s not entirely alone. The world of this novel felt so intensely lonely to me because all the characters do this, more or less. They don’t really relate to one another as people, but as symbols, or accessories, or dreams. The effect is lonely and claustrophobic and more than a little scary, and Nick Carraway denounces this perfectly, even though he’s not above getting caught up in that world and doing it himself. For example, he says about Gatsby:
He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was...
But Daisy is only a person, so of course she cannot give him what he’s looking for, or be the idea he wants her to be. My own response to Daisy as a person was complex: as I said, I can see how she and Tom are superficial and ruthless, but the fact that even those who loved her dehumanised her actually forced me to see her as more human. I felt such sympathy for her in the hotel room scene, especially after this:
“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once—but I loved you too.”
Gatsby’s eyes opened and closed.
“You loved me too?” he repeated.
“Even that’s a lie,” said Tom savagely. “She didn’t know you were alive. Why,—there’re things between Daisy and me that you’ll never know, things that neither of us can ever forget.”
The words seemed to bite physically into Gatsby.
He did want too much. What he wanted wasn’t love; it was ownership and control of another human being. As I was saying the other day, when I posted about the Scott Pilgrim series, I can’t at all understand the idea that to love someone means you’re entitled to all of them—to everything that they ever were, are, or will be; to all their feelings for everyone who has ever mattered to them throughout their life. To me it goes without saying that yes, she could have loved Jay Gatsby and still have had something with Tom that is beyond his reach. That’s the thing, really: even if we leave love triangles out of the equation, the person you love will always have other connections which are beyond your reach. And that’s exactly as it should be.

A final comment, this time about the writing: wow. Could Fitzgerald ever write. The prose in The Great Gatsby is absolutely beautiful, and the final passages in particular are some of the loveliest I have ever seen. I shall resist the temptation to just quote them in their entirety. But here are a few I particularly loved:
I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

As I went over to say goodbye I saw that the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby's face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! 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.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o’clock—until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about…like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.
Other Opinions:
Shelf Love, Reading Matters, Bibliofreak, Words by Annie, books i done read, Kiss a Cloud, In Spring it is the Dawn, Tales From the Reading Room, Another Cookie Crumbles


I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Hark! A Vagrant comics to date (which, much to my delight, was posted the week I finished Gatsby).


  1. "The prose in The Great Gatsby is absolutely beautiful, and the final passages in particular are some of the loveliest I have ever seen"-I liked the last ten pages or so of the book so much-for the beauty of the prose that I went back and read it 4 more times in the next few days after finishing it-I have yet to try another of his works but would like to-maybe one of his short stories-thanks for this great post

  2. You know I still haven't read this classic but I absolutely, loved, loved Tender is the Night. It's one of my favourite novels and I've reread it twice.

  3. I am ashamed to say that I haven't read this, but it has been on my huge list of books that I want to read. Fab post!

    Hugs, xxxxx

  4. Part of me loathes The Great Gatsby, and that's the part that had to study it and to endure its over-rated and continued assertion as the Great American Classic. The prose is stunning and I do appreciate parts of it (and all the more in re-readings) but I want to read Zelda instead.

  5. Excellent review, Ana! I enjoyed reading your opinions. I have to admit I rarely read Classics in the past but thanks to blogging, I've added a few great Classics through fellow bookbloggers' recommendations. :)

    I'm glad to have this book in my pile; it's just a matter of time getting to it.

  6. Your opening comments are so so true. 'Nobody has ever read it with my eyes' - and at that moment in your life. Our experiences up to that moment also shape our thoughts on a book and how it speaks to us. So often when I return to re read a novel I find something different - maybe better or maybe not so striking as that first time. I remember re reading Jane Eyre in my early thirties and wondering what it was I'd loved so much when I'd read it in my early twenties. End of ramble.

  7. You don't have to feel small when writing a review. We all read it to know what YOU thought about the book. If I want to read someone's really intelligent thoughts, I'll go top the library and find a book on 'The Great Gatsby'. I'm here to read your thoughts and your thoughts alone, which are always so brilliantly put. I remember that I felt a little indifferent about Gatsby. I know it's a classic and deservedly so, but maybe I would have to read it again to appreciate it fully.

  8. I really want to read this!!

  9. I would never sell yourself short on the importance and validity of your opinions! I read this book in high school, and I'm sure that all the intricacies of the relationships and the manipulation was lost on me. This is one that needs re-reading.

  10. As much as I loved Gatsby, I remember loving Tender is the Night even more when I read it for the first time (must have been around 20). Gatsby has been reread at least a couple times since then, but I really want to take another look at TitN.
    Loved reading your thoughts on this one, Ana!

  11. Wow, if I hadn't read this book and disliked it, your review would make me want to run out and read it immediately. Really great review. I see what you mean about the manipulations and the making people into ideals, the characters were bad at that weren't they! But agree with other reviewers, your opinion is very important in the grand scheme of things :)

  12. Every year that passes makes me love and respect this book even more.

  13. I never had to read this in school but did read it a number of years ago. I can't remember much (though I do remember the part about the car- you know the part) but I remember loving it.

  14. I had to read this for a class when I was 15 and I disliked it so much. I wonder if I'd appreciate it more if I reread it with your comments in mind. At that time, all I could think of was what a struggle reading this book was. And I really didn't mind reading books at all.

  15. This is one of those books (and authors, for that matter) that I was never exposed to in school. That feels like a major error that I need to repair and this book is definitely on my imaginary gaps list.

    This sounds like a fascinating book and I'm actually looking forward to it more now. But I do agree with you on that disconnect you mention re: the same thing you had issue with in Scott Pilgrim. It bothers me the whole "you must give up your past" thing when you get into relationships, or that you're expected to war against your significant others' ex's. It's just so silly. I don't know. I'm not like other people...

  16. I did read The Great Gatsby once in college but I honestly felt very indifferent towards it, neither liked or disliked it I guess. But I think that now that I actually have lived in Long Island for quite a few years, I think I could identify better and it would be interesting to re-read the book. Besides you also make it sound like a novel that warrants a lot more than indifference on my side:)

  17. I read this in high school and loved it. I think part of the appeal for me, though, was that I felt very sophisticated as I read it. I've wondered how it would hold up to a re-read now - you've convinced me that it would do quite well.

  18. This was by far my favorite read in all my years in school, and I even chose to write my end of term paper on the color symbolism in the book. I think I have my note cards for the project around her somewhere! That being said, you did a wonderful and beautiful job with this review, and I think that you addressed some things about this book that I had never considered. Mainly, the intents of Jay towards Daisy, and the fact that he didn't really want to love her, only to possess her. I also got an intense feel of loneliness from this story, so I think you hit it right on the mark. Such a wonderful review! Makes me think it's definitely time for a reread!!

  19. The first time I read Gatsby I was blown away by it. I think you got it exactly right when you said it leaves you feeling intensely lonely. The writing and the way Fitzgerald describes this world that Nick has stumbled upon is breathtaking.

    I love your comments, "The beauty of literature is that it has no due date." and "...the person you love will always have other connections which are beyond your reach. And that’s exactly as it should be."

    Thank you for a great review!

  20. I haven't read this book since high school, freshman year I think, and that has now been some time past, but I can still remember the feeling of this book. Reading it, I felt a profound sense of clarity, as if I'd understood something fully for the first time. As a young teenager, that is an awesome feeling. I don't remember much else about the book, so I'm thinking a re-read may be in order.

  21. I tried to read this one last year but quickly abandoned it. There was something about the writing (it had so many adverbs!) that wasn't clicking with me, and I knew I wasn't going to like the book. It is a novel that I'd like to read, and I'll give it another chance in the future. It's such an important part of American culture, I feel like it's something I really should be more familiar with.

  22. I read this in high school but don't remember much of it as all. I don't even know who Jordan is. Hmm... I do want to try Fitzgerald again, but I think I want to read his Tales of the Jazz Age before reading this one again. I DO remember really disliking Daisy, so I wonder if my feelings towards her would change reading it at this age.

  23. We did Gatsby in high school, and I fell completely in love with it. Now part of that may have been because I was hating all the other authors we read around the same time - Faulkner and Hemingway and I will never get on - and found Fitzgerald such a surprising, blessed relief. But I've had to read it for school at least twice since then, and its charms have never paled. Fitzgerald is a gorgeous writer, and he somehow manages to make a bunch of fairly unpleasant characters interesting and sympathetic in spite of (or because of, I guess) their flaws.

    And as well, it's one of those books that appeals to swooshily romantic people and their very opposite. I think that is cool about The Great Gatsby. My uncle Jim is about the least emotional reader in all the land, and he loves this book even more than I do; he reads it over and over, and he can quote entire passages from memory.

  24. Great review & while it has been a long time since I've read it, I think your assessment is spot on. It is about the modern lifestyle - leisure and superficiality - and the message is that this is a lonely existence. How much more meaningful is this message for our time? In our days of smart phones, text & email - have we lost the gift of relationships? Not entirely, in fact in some ways our technology brings us, I've 'met' you through our mutual love of books & literature. But other relationship... have I chalked them up to a once a month phone call instead of a Sunday afternoon visit on the porch?

    Excellent as always. And yes, Fitzgerald's language is beautiful!

  25. I re-read this a few years ago and was totally blown away by the beauty of Fitzgerald's prose. I think the first time I read it I didn't really appreciate it. It's a true masterpiece.

  26. I know what you mean about talking about books that so many other people have talked about, and written dissertations and *other* books about! I mean, who'd want to read what I thought. But then again, an opinion like yours is more likely to sway me to read a classic than a msm critic telling me I should have read this already.

    This is where I admit I've never read Gatsby either. It is on Mt. TBR, I swear, I just haven't gotten there yet :)

  27. As a teenager, I remember admiring Nick for his audacity--he wanted things he could never have. As I've gotten older I admire that less, but it's still so quintessentially American to want the unattainable. If Nick could have "had" Daisy in any kind of lasting relationship, he wouldn't have wanted her with the same idealistic fervency.

  28. I had a period of loveing Fitzgerald especially Tender is the Night. I must go back for re-read. Your comments on his prose are spot on. I used to use the first page and half of Tender is the Night to teach "openings" for creative writing at school. It was one of the few things that could stun a class of 16 year olds into silence!

  29. I loved this book when I read it, but it is going back to when I was eighteen. I think it was definitely the style of writing that I loved the most. A fantastic review and I am pretty sure that many have not read it.To be honest, it is amazing that I have read it, as I am always the last to read a classic.

  30. I like your observation that "Their love story is an example of what happens when living, breathing human beings begin to stand for ideas, for dreams, for a moment in the past—what happens, of course, is that they become commodities." I think one could broaden it because sometimes "whatever it [is] that [keeps two people] together" is the need and desire to believe that other person is what you want him or her to be. And with this refusal to see how much else must you ignore in your environment to maintain the ficiton? And how much does it contribute to loneliness and even anomie because you must in essence reject the real world?

  31. I've been wanting to read this for such a long time! Especially recently, because in Reading Lolita in Tehran they talk a lot about this book. Fantastic review!

  32. always think gatesby changes with age you can fall in and out of love with charcters at different points in your life always good to read a review on it ,all the best stu

  33. I really like your thoughts about Daisy. I felt much the same way. Well, I didn't like her exactly, but I sympathized with her because it seemed like she just became what people thought she was.

    As I mentioned in my review, Fitzgerald said that he considered Daisy underdeveloped as a character, and he was surprised people hadn't pointed that out. I found that fascinating, and I wonder if it says something about what people expected of women characters in fiction then. Maybe people didn't complain about the dehumanization because it was just par for the course.

  34. Don´t feel self-conscious about reviewing this, your reviews are always so thoughful and intelligent! Besides, every reader offers a different perspective.

    I like your point about not assuming that everyone´s read the classics, I actually have read (and loved) this one for once, it´s a nice change :)

  35. I've read this, but it was long ago. I remember being totally awakened by it. You write wonderful reviews! Now I want to read it again...

  36. I've had this book forever but never cracked it open...I should probably change that one of these days!!

  37. Fabulous review as always. I totally know what you mean about writing a review about a book that is so well known but I love your reviews - don't put yourself down! ;)

  38. I'm another who read The Great Gatsby in school and I must admit that while I liked it, I didn't really fall in love with it. I'm not sure I thought about it in enough depth to really do so, though. I don't remember us discussing any of the points you've brought up - I think that I might have liked it more if we talked about that instead of all the symbolism in the book! People and their emotions are always more interesting than poring through a book to see what stands for what.

  39. I LOVE this book! I've read it at least four times. I'm so glad you liked it too. I didn't read it at school either, and I'm kind of glad I didn't because it might not have made it as wonderful an experience. You've pretty much summed up how I feel about it too, what struck me about it was the incredible loneliness of the characters too. And the prose is just gorgeous. If you haven't already you should watch the adaptation with Robert Redford in it, I love that film.

  40. I only read this book last year (review here, and loved it. The prose is amazing, and the book is almost timeless.

  41. Just some random thoughts:

    "They don’t really relate to one another as people, but as symbols, or accessories, or dreams." Don't we see that so often with the popular kids in high school or the rich and famous of any age? One of the things that makes The Great Gatsby so truthful.

    "It was ownership and control of another human being." And how she made him look and the feeling he could get by taking her away from her other life.

    The paragraph you quote about Tom and Daisy being careless has always stuck with me.

    I'd love to be in a book club with you.

  42. I've never read this one. I've read both love and hate reviews of Great Gatsby and am yet to decide if I want to read it. I could probably try it to know which camp I will be in. :)

  43. 'They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.'

    This is some of my favorite prose in literature. And you did wonderful justice to expressing your feelings about the book! Thank you for reminding me how much I loved Gatsby.

  44. I really want to reread this one. I remember really disliking Daisy.

  45. The reason why I love this book is that it is the perfect example of “show, don’t tell”. The author never tells us what to think or how to feel, he never tires to manipulate the reader, but simply shows ‘everything’ and leaves it to the reader to decide how she/he wants to feel towards the characters and the events that occur.
    Thank you for the great reviews as always, I love the fresh and original perspective you bring when reviewing the classics :)

  46. I read this one when I was 16 (I think) and I remember liking it:)

  47. I'm glad you liked it, Im reading Fitzgerald for the first time at the moment but I'm reading 'Tender is the night' I love it so far and can completely understand the fuss made about this man. The prose is stunning.

  48. I can definitely relate to your first paragraph! Re: Gatsby, I read it in high school and really did not care for it, specifically did not care terribly much for Fitzgerald's prose. I have enjoyed some of his short stories recently, but I don't know. I am a Hemingway girl. That said, the passages you quote do sound awfully nice to me now and I would probably get a lot more out of a re-read.

  49. Wonderful review, Nymeth. The details you include here illustrate how much care you put into the reading of this fascinating, tragic classic.

    I read this years ago--now my daughter is reading it for school. Recently I saw the movie for the fourth(?) time. I remember seeing the movie as a teenager and finding it very powerful. I still do.

  50. Mel U: I completely understand the urge to reread those final pages. And I'll definitely be reading more Fitzgerald.

    Mrs B: Tender is the Night will probably be my next :)

    Scattie: Nothing to be ashamed of!

    Claire, I guess that's one of the advantages of not having studied it!

    Melody: As have I, especially lately with the Classics Circuit :)

    Joan Hunter Dunn: Not a ramble! That's absolutely true, yes, and it's one of the reasons why I hesitate to write off a book or author even if I don't connect with it at a certain time in my life.

    Susi: I promise I didn't mean that self-depreciatively; it's just that I was wondering if maybe it *is* possible to run out of things to say about a book, you know? But no matter how many times the same things are said, they'll always be new to some of us.

    Elise, I hope you like it as much as I did!

    Sandy: I'm pretty sure they'd have been lost on me too only a few years ago!

    JoAnn: You loved Tender is the Night even more? I can't wait to get to it :)

    Amy: They were bad at that, yes, but instead of disliking any of them I just felt so sad and sorry :\

    Bybee: I'm beginning to see why it's so well-regarded.

    Chris: Somehow this is one of those classics I managed to avoid spoilers for, and I hadn't see that part coming at all!

    Iris, I can see why not everyone would love it, of course.

    Amanda: Neither am I....I just don't get any of that at all :S I can't wait to hear what you think of the book!

    Lilly: I'm sure that a lot of readers will feel indifferent towards it or even dislike it, but yes, maybe it's a good idea to give it another try. As Joan was saying in her comment, we all connect to books differently at different times.

    Kathy: I think it'd do well, yes. There's just so much here.

  51. I need to read this one, its sitting on my shelf. I know what you mean about reviewing a book that seems to have been reviewed so many times already.
    Excellent review like always!

  52. I read Gatsby as required reading in college. I didn't like it much. But it's probably hard to like anything that is required to read in school :P

  53. "nobody has ever read it with my eyes." That's why I love reading book blogs. I like to see what you saw when you read it.

    I did read this and study it in depth in 11th grade. Definitely time for a reread, as I can't remember much about it. Except the color blue was supposed to be significant? (darn symbolism discussion in class). Loneliness sounds familiar though. I'd love to read it with fresh eyes.

  54. Reviews which incorporate -- or even focus on -- an individual reader's reactions and experiences to a book are my absolute favorites. And yours is certainly no exception!

    I first read The Great Gatsby in high school and credit it with first awakening me to the great world of "classic" literature (however we want to define it!). I've read it twice more -- once for college, and once for pleasure -- and find something new each time. Fitzgerald was an amazing writer and this book is, in my opinion, totally timeless. Thanks for reminding me how much I love it!

  55. Zibilee: Thank you so much! It was strange: I don't think his love for Daisy was necessarily insincere, but it's like he and most of the rest of the characters knew of no *other* way of thinking of other people.

    Avid Reader: Thank *you* for the kind words! I'm in awe of Fitzgerald's writing - I need to read Tender is the Night before long.

    Trisha: I do remember feeling that way as a teen - it's a great feeling indeed :)

    Steph: The writing is definitely a bit flowery, so I can see why not everyone would like it - especially as modern taste seems to learn towards simpler things, I find. But it really worked for me.

    Aarti: I hadn't heard of Tales of the Jazz Age - it sounds excellent!

    Jenny: "he somehow manages to make a bunch of fairly unpleasant characters interesting and sympathetic in spite of (or because of, I guess) their flaws." Yes, exactly!

    Elisabeth: "This is a lonely existence" sums it up perfectly, I think. And yes, the book is even more relevant now than it was all those years ago. Surely the mark of a timeless book!

    Sakura: It absolutely is.

    Fence: Thank you for the kind words! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

    Jeanne: That's something I hadn't thought of, and it's an excellent point. The book seems to very much be about yearning for what's out of reach.

    Juxtabook: I need to read Tender is the Night before too long!

    Vivienne: I always feel that I'm the last too...I guess it's a common feeling :P

    Jill: An excellent point! I think superimposing our idea of a person on a real human being is something must of us have done at one point or another.

    Emidy: Reading Lolita in Tehran was actually the reason why I picked it up at last :)

    Stu: Well said :)

    Teresa: I think you're probably right - most people wouldn't have expected more of a female character at the time.

    Bina, thank you for the kind words!

    Daphne: Aw, thank you!

    Staci: You should! I think you're going to enjoy it.

    Boof: I promise I wasn't trying to :P I was more wondering if anything new could be said about this book, by anyone.

    Meghan: I completely agree! Not that discussing symbols can't be interesting, in the sense that they aid the discussion of the ideas in the novel. But the latter is what interests me the most.

  56. Thank you for this very thoughtful review! I read this book pre-blog times, but I know that I ate it up. I feel like it's one off those books that have become unfashionable to like, because they're so easy to love.

  57. Dominique: I'm actually kind of glad I got to experience it on my own too. I'm sure a classroom discussion could have been wonderful, but I love the feeling of being alone with a book.

    anothercookiecrumbles: Yes, I agree that it's timeless. Thank you for your link!

    Beth F: Aw - I'd love to be in a book club with you too! I love the points you made. I do agree that "winning" Daisy at last was also about the feeling of power and triumph. Just another way in which she was commodified.

    Aths: Yes, you should try it! It's the only way to find out if it's for you, after all ;) Even if you do end up hating it, at least it's short :P

    Kate: Thank you for the kind words! His writing really, really amazed me.

    Kathleen: I felt sorry for her, mostly - for all of them, really. Everyone was so lonely.

    Lua: So true! And thank you so much :)

    Andreea: I'm glad to hear you like it too :)

    Jessica: I must read Tender is the Night soon!

    Nicole: As I was telling Steph, I can definitely see why his prose wouldn't work for everyone. But if you like the excerpts, perhaps this is worth another try.

    Suko: I've never seen the movie, but now that I've finally read it I'll try to.

    Naida: Thank you! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

    Mee: Yeah, sometimes that does happen with required reading - especially if the teacher is one of those that seem keen to suck the life out of the book :P

    Rebecca: Yes, that's definitely why I love book blogs too :) Hm...whatever the colour blue signified, it completely went over my head :P

    Meg: Thank you so much the kind words! I completely agree that this book is timeless, and that's surely the mark of a great work.

    writerspet: Really? I never got the impression that it was an unfashionable book to like - but then again, because I hadn't read it until now I kind of avoided discussions about it.

  58. I've got both this and Tender is the Night in my pile. I've been meaning to read them but just keep postponing the time. This is a very thoughtful review. I ought to start on those two books soon.

  59. Great review! I always love reading people's thoughts about this book. I read it a long time ago, but I still remember the last paragraph. And I agree that it's a book about loneliness and stuff.

    What surprises me is that the book is still very relevant. Just turn Gatsby into a Goldman-Sachs CEO and it could take place today!

  60. Have you read HEADHUNTER by Timothy Findley? It riffs on a couple of different classics, including THE GREAT GATSBY, and it picks up primarily on the relationships.

  61. I was completely tangled in your very human and deep description of this great modern novel. The most thing that caught my attention in your analysis is that you really managed angelically to touch the human side of those shallow and hallow characters! bravo!


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