April went by quite quickly. There was so much to keep up with for many of us.
Nevertheless, while we juggled several events on our calendar, we spent some time reading another classic novel, and we’re eager to share our review with you.
This month, we’re grilling The Great Gatsby, considered by some as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s greatest novel. A book that reveals the impossibility of recapturing the past; the effect of pain, loss of loved one, deceit and heartbreak on people’s lives and actions. The Great Gatsby is the author’s third novel and was published in 1925.
The Great Gatsby–Story
The book opens with a sober reflection of what the narrator’s father told him as a youth. “Whenever you feel like criticising anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you have had”. How timely, for in the course of reading, we found that advice very helpful. We had to read to the end to reach our conclusions.
“Whenever you feel like criticising anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you have had.”
The story is related by a narrator, Nick Carraway, a young Yale graduate who lives next to the principal character of the novel, Jay Gatsby. Nick reveals how despite his luxurious life and generous hosting of parties, Gatsby seems unhappy. It turns out Gatsby fell in love with a young woman (Daisy) who later got married to another man (Tom Buchanan). He never stopped loving her and eventually arranged for Nick to invite her to his house for lunch. Their love was rekindled. Her husband, Tom, suspects what is happening and confronts them. This led to an outburst, and in the heat of it all, Gatsby leaves with Daisy, who, on their way, hits and kills a woman. Out of love, fear and the desire to protect Daisy, Gatsby takes responsibility for the death. The dead woman’s husband finds Gatsby and kills him. Daisy returns to London with Tom. Nick arranges for Gatsby’ funeral and eventually moves out of town.
Settings, Language and Style
The author used the narrative style and language, which helped readers to imagine the scenery of the different locations. The language was simple.
He combined the use of well-chosen figures of speech to present his story in an interesting, easy to understand way. An example we won’t forget in a hurry is found on page 74, where Nick describes a funeral procession but instead says: “A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms . . .”
The author paints with artistic accuracy the frivolities of amassing wealth and friendship. Even in death, Gatsby, who had hosted parties on many occasions, barely had anyone willing to attend his funeral.
The novel was at first considered a failure. But, it was most recently adapted to film in 2013 by director Baz Luhrmann, giving further evidence that Fitzgerald told a good story.
We also liked the fact that the book was short. At only nine chapters, it holds a great story that has intrigued book lovers for years.
But . . .
The story got boring at some point as some of the stories just didn’t connect. We wondered if some of the scenes described could have been left out entirely or if they could at least have been shortened to include just the relevant details. We are not sure how the story of Mr and Mrs Wilson all fit in, how Daisy knocked her down and how Wilson found and killed Gatsby.
In any case, we gladly recommend The Great Gatsby for anyone looking to enjoy a classic novel that is both romantic and educative.
We score this book four stars.
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