In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Fantastic! One of my Favorite Books! Comment: Aside from making a powerful statement about the so called "American Dream," this novel is brilliantly written. Mr. Fitzgerald's mastery of the English language is evident in his genius sentence structure and meticulous word choice. One cannot help but stop reading to simply marvel at some of his phrasing. I highly recommend Gatsby to anyone out for great read. Customer Rating: Summary: Does money matter? Comment: "Pursuit of happiness"? More like the pursuit of money leading into happiness. The novel starts off with a dull beginning but soon develops into what is known as one of the greatest written novels during the First World War. In the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the theme of importance of social class along with money status to show that Mr. Jay Gatsby is a symbol for the average American during the 1920s. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway who is a young lad living in West Egg, Long Island. Next to him lives the infamous Jay Gatsby who falls in love with a taken woman. Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan had met five years earlier and had fallen in love but unfortunately Jay left and was not able to contact Daisy for some time. After waiting for five long years Daisy decides to marry Tom who is one of Nick's friends from college. Sooner or later Gatsby and Daisy meet up again at Nick's house and fall in love all over again. Nick ends up being caught in a love tangle when he finds out that not only are Daisy and Gatsby having an affair but also that Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson. In the end three people end up dead due to the entanglement, but it is made clear that Daisy's choice to stay with Tom is solely based upon the recently found news that Gatsby was actually a poor man who inherited money. This then ties in the theme of "money does matter" and the downfall of the American society due to a shortage of money in the 1920s seen on pages 40-41. I recommend this book to those who are interested in reading twisted romance novels with a little rising action thrown in. Customer Rating: Summary: Hmm... Comment: So I love classic English literature, but F. Scott, and the Great Gatsby in particular are not my favorite. My wife loves them, but I can go without them. To me, it never really makes me relate or care about the characters, and if you cannot care on some level about the characters, what is the point of reading a book, you know?? Customer Rating: Summary: An American tragedy from the Jazz Age Comment: This story of the 'lost generation', those who came of age in time to fight in WWI and, if they were lucky, returned home to find that everything had changed, especially themselves. This generation was no longer content to stay in the small towns and cities that their families had lived in for generations. The young men did not want to enter into the family business and settle down with a suitable young woman from nearby. The young women were not content to stay in their parents' house and wait, they wanted out in the world to 'do something'.
The story is told, not through the eyes of Gatsby but through those of Nick, a young man from the midwest who has settled in New York to learn the bond game. By chance he has rented a house on Long Island for the summer, a small cottage stuck among much grander mansions and, again by chance, across an inlet from a cousin, Daisy and her husband Tom, who, also by chance Nick had known slightly in college. Also by chance, Nick's neighbor, the mysterious Gatsby had been one of Daisy's many suitors before she had settled down with Tom. Nick soon finds himself swept into the glittering, glamorous world of Gatsby and Daisy and Tom. He is made an unwilling witness to Tom's infidelity, the one sided romance of Gatsby and Daisy and finally to the tragic results of it all.
THE GREAT GATSBY is a very American story, one that depicts the American restlessness, the desire to be more, better, different from all that has come before. As with many books that are assigned reading this one is often forced on an audience that is too young to appreciate it. Like many others I hated this novel when I first read it (I was an 18 year old college freshman) but found that it stuck with me, unlike many other assigned books, long after the final exam. Over the years I have read it several times and each time discovered something new, a different aspect of the novel becoming the 'point' of the story.
This is one everyone really should read at least once, perferably a couple times, in their lives. Customer Rating: Summary: Parallels to today Comment: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a small, quick read classic novel. While many consider it to be the finest of American novels, I personally didn't find it to rank quite that high. It is however a very good book, and although I somehow did not read the book until my 30's, I can understand why it is so widely required in many high school and college courses.
Mr. Fitzgerald paints a vivid picture of the "Jazz Age" of the 1920's and most of the book is centered on New York City and Long Island's North Shore. I found a lot of parallels to today throughout the book. The Great Gatsby gives a detailed development of how the never ending quest for material objects and riches can corrupt someone to their soul if a proper grounding in what is truly is important isn't present.
Mr. Fitzgerald also provides excellent character development; creating characters that can be rooted for and loathed at the same time. In the end it is shown how shallow pursuits can lead to a road of destruction and dismay.