The Great Gatsby – By F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”

Think of beautiful long hazy days, lounging on freshly cut green grass, think of serene women in long floating gowns and well-respected men in starched white linen suits, think of having nothing particular to do … think The Great Gatsby.

I first read this book during my first year of Sixth Form College. Due to this, it has felt very much like a coming of age novel for me. In fact, despite having a revised edition on my kindle, I used my very old and very battered edition, circa 2005, and rediscovered the beauty and truth in Fitzgerald’s prose.

Re-reading this particular edition has filled me with nostalgia, partly due to the fact that I had scribbled various ‘insightful’ comments in a pink gel pen that smells suspiciously like bubble gum, and partly because it highlighted just how much my view of the world has changed in the past eight years. At the impressionable age of seventeen, I was quick to judge the shallow and empty lives of the characters portrayed in the novel and had little or no room for any exploration of compassion or understanding. However, during this return to the intangible environment of Gatsby’s world, I was overcome with a vast amount pity towards Daisy, Tom and Gatbsy – a feeling I hadn’t experienced the first time.

Fitzgerald has an insightful gift for portraying the nonsensical and indulgent behaviour of the upper middle class. This may have been because his encounters with these types were all too frequent, or may have merely been a fascination, boarding on obsession, that just swelled when he put pen to paper. These privileged folk have nothing to do; they are essentially purposeless. Lazy and short-sighted with little direction or drive, they simply float through life, never earning their wealth, having advantages and opportunities handed to them without one iota of effort. Yet there is something incredibly sad about their existence. They see that they are missing something essential in their life and make an attempt to find it but, because of the manner in which they live, are invariably unsuccessful.

It is a powerful author that makes the characters seem at once transparent but also infuriatingly hidden. Seemingly devoid of emotion but at the same with so much love (particularly in the case of Gatsby) that they would do anything for the object of their desire. With the benefit of a few more years on this very confusing earth, I have come to realise that maybe that is what Fitzgerald was getting at; life is confusing; life is full of inconsistencies – particularly when it comes to understanding human behaviour. This is a novel of paradoxes and discrepancies, but I think this is actually what I love most about it. Every sentence he writes can be scrutinised for further introspection and in my opinion is what makes this novel a timeless piece of literature.


Read This Book …
With a mint julep while aimlessly looking for something you seem to have misplaced…


This book is a … Epic Read / Retro Read


Genre: Fiction
Paperback ISBN: 9780007368655
ebook ISBN: 9780007477364


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