The Great Gatsby
Scott Fitzgerald Pages: 180 Published originally: 1925
The book: In the summer of 1922, Nick Carraway, a young man from a well-to-do, Midwest family, decides to learn about the bond business and heads for the East coast. Rather than live in New York City, he rents a small home on Long Island. A mysterious and rich Mr. Jay Gatsby lives in the large mansion next door. Gatsby throws huge, extravagant parties. However, nobody seems to know where Gatsby is from or how he made his money. What will Nick learn about Gatsby? How will the summer of 1922 turn out?
You might like it because: Fitzgerald writes exceptionally well, sketching out the personalities of his characters in great detail and creating a vivid picture of the decadent lives of the rich and famous in the roaring 1920s.
What did other people say?
“A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today. It takes a deeper cut at life than hitherto has been enjoyed by Mr. Fitzgerald. He writes well—he always has—for he writes naturally, and his sense of form is becoming perfected.”
– The New York Times, 1925
“Scott Fitzgerald’s new novel, “The Great Gatsby” is in form no more than a glorified anecdote, and not too probable at that. ”- H.L. Mencken, Chicago Tribune,1925
“It is the American masterwork, the finest work of fiction by any of this country’s writers.” – Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, 2007
Awards & Recognition:
Named one of The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century
How quickly will you get into the book? Fitzgerald slowly pulls the reader into the story via the narrator Nick Caraway. I didn’t feel that I couldn’t put it down, like some books I’ve read, but I did want to know about Nick’s mysterious neighbor Mr. Gatsby, so that kept me interested in reading on.
You might not like it because: Most of the characters in the story are pretty objectionable people, so you really don’t end up rooting for anyone, which may well leave you feeling ambivalent when you get to the end of the book.
What might you read next?
Here are three books you might want to read, all set in the 1920s, and each with a different perspective on that time period:
Jazz, by Toni Morrison, is a story of love and obsession set against the backdrop of Harlem and the realities of black urban life.
Or, for a humorous take on the Jazz age, pick up Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, by Anita Loos.
Alternatively, move countries with Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall, set in Britain.