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The Great Gatsby

A novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Rightfully Deemed an American Masterpiece

  • Oct 28, 2002
Rating:
+4
I first read this one years ago, in high school I believe, and I liked it well enough then. But it was soon eclipsed in my mind by Joyce's works. And Hemingway's. Against the works of these latter authors, Fitzgerald's GATSBY seemed to me to be rather ordinary, old fashioned if you will . . . albeit a nicely honed piece of prose.

There is, indeed, a certain artifice to the Gatsby story which smacks of the writer's intentions, an intrusive "plottiness" reflecting coincidences which are not at all the way things really work in life. And yet for all that, the story is strongly told, moving and lyrical, and the characterizations, as I found on re-reading the novel at my wife's urging, far more subtle than I recalled from my high school days. GATSBY is the story of a mystery man who dreams of a wealthy debutante he met years before, when he was an impoverished young soldier, and whose entire life since has been dedicated to winning her. To do this he has earned millions of dollars in the heyday of racketeering and prohibition (how is never quite made clear) and, at the time the novel is set, is engaged in creating an upper class persona for himself, in order to be worthy of the woman he loves.

Of course, as Fitzgerald, through his narrator, the Midwestern transplant and aspiring bond salesman, Nick Carraway, shows, it is not Gatsby who needs to be made worthy at all. There is a certain melodrama to the tale which kind of blunted the edge for me but, on balance, the overwrought tragic overtones in the careless hit and run accident that brings all to a head are more than balanced out by the insight vouchsafed to us by Nick when he tells Gatsby, near the end, that the whole lot of them are not worth Gatsby alone. Gatsby wanders off distractedly to meet his undeserved destiny, thereafter, and Nick remains to pick up the pieces, packing up and returning home to the Midwest in disgust, and something akin to despair, at the human condition when, at last, the full import of what has occurred comes home to him.

Fitzgerald had set out to craft a gem with this novel and he succeeded. Though it has flaws, the powerful insight and the polished, lyrical prose more than make up for them, setting this book firmly in the constellation of great American novels.

SWM

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More The Great Gatsby reviews
Quick Tip by . April 16, 2012
Money for Nothing,but the Chicks are free.Go nowhere love money power and sex .
review by . June 29, 2010
Daisy Buchannan tells Nick and Jordan that she hopes for her daughter to turn out unintelligent and pretty:  “'I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.'”  Daisy realizes that in “this world" — the society of the upper class in the 1920s — intelligence in women carries little value and a pleasant appearance provides the best chance of social distinction.  Daisy’s …
review by . June 29, 2010
I love The Great Gatsby (although I always was one of those kids who loved the books we had to read in high school.) I felt for Gatsby, and got caught up with Nick and the rest of the characters. It was very easy to relate to Gatsby's desire to belong in a higher standing than his own, and the overly easy way that Daisy had of being too rich for her own good.      The Great Gatsby is set in the 1920's, just before The Great Depression, when everything was a little bit …
Quick Tip by . April 12, 2011
I know this book gets quite a bit of praise but for me the novel just does not hold up to the test of time.  In some ways it reads like a modern love triangle or a look into the dysfunctional lives of a the wealthy.  It is an solid and entertaining novel, just not one that I would put in the pantheon of all time greats.
review by . July 27, 2010
It is quite astounding how the story flowed from the beginning ‘til end. I am dumb-founded how tragic the story is. Nevertheless, I am convinced that F. Scott Fitzgerald has moved the readers with this masterpiece. I wish to imply that the title itself is a bit ironic because “great” entails loneliness so long as the story is concerned. The thing is, even though Gatsby is a wealthy man he is actually sad despite of the parties he throws. Despite of its tragic end, the story is …
review by . July 09, 2010
Although this novel is over 80 years old, its themes and issues remain relevant to contemporary society. I have read this book at least once a year for the past eight years. Fitzgerald's characters may not be immediately empathetic, but they all are figures that are believable. The decadence of the Roaring Twenties is the setting for a drama that on one level is about failed romance, but that failed romance is much more. Our narrator, Nick, is not perfect himself, and his lens of the events …
Quick Tip by . October 31, 2010
In an era of school-board mandated this and multicult-approved that, this classic gets overlooked. But, in its lessons on American dreams, capitalist realities, and intimate betrayals, it sums up for me our national obsessions, and our fantasies of reinvention and flight from the past, splendidly. I wish every student would read it, learn from it, and recommend it. It endures beyond this year's bestseller titles...
review by . July 13, 2010
   Even though it has an unhappy ending, The Great Gatsby (published in 1925) is an insightful read. It certainly leaves a mark on one’s impression about the opulent past.Therefore, without a doubt, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite literary novels. It’s one of those books that’s required reading in high school; however, it's also a book that can be savored anytime in life. Whether you're a high school senior or a grandmother, you'll …
review by . June 30, 2010
I know this book is a classic, but it is so awful! Maybe I was too young when I read it (I was in high school) to appreciate the point of the book. I just remember it being full of rich people and their decadent lives. Which sounds like it should be fun, but it was oddly depressing. Honestly, I couldn’t even finish reading it. I just remember this mess of people with hints of infidelity, suppressed love, there was some sort of car accident I think, a big party, and a good representation of …
review by . July 02, 2010
I read this book because it was assigned to me. I honestly loved the book. The author chose to tell Gatsby's story through Nick, a neighbor. At the beginning the book is a bit slow but after a while is one of those you can not put down. I would recommend anyone to read the book because it teaches you about humanity and social classes. The book takes place in the 1920s when women were beginning to come out of there shell. Jordan, Nick's girlfriend, is a good example of how women progresses. …
About the reviewer
Stuart W. Mirsky ()
Ranked #232
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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Wiki

In 1925, The Great Gatsby was published and hailed as an artistic and material success for its young author, F. Scott Fitzgerald. It is considered a vastly more mature and artistically masterful treatment of Fitzgerald's themes than his earlier fiction. These works examine the results of the Jazz Age generation's adherence to false material values.

In The Great Gatsby's nine chapters, Fitzgerald presents the rise and fall of Jay Gatsby, as related in a first-person narrative by Nick Carraway. Carraway reveals the story of a farmer's son-turned racketeer, named Jay Gatz. His ill-gotten wealth is acquired solely to gain acceptance into the sophisticated, moneyed world of the woman he loves, Daisy Fay Buchanan. His romantic illusions about the power of money to buy respectability and the love of Daisy—the “golden girl” of his dreams—are skillfully and ironically interwoven with episodes that depict what Fitzgerald viewed as the callousness and moral irresponsibility of the affluent American society of the 1920s.

America at this time experienced a cultural and lifestyle revolution. In the economic arena, the stock market boomed, the rich spent money on fabulous parties and expensive acquisitions, the automobile became a symbol of glamour and wealth, and profits were made, both legally and illegally. The whirlwind pace of this post-World War I era is captured in Fitzgerald's Gatsby, whose tragic quest and violent death foretell the ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0684801523
ISBN-13: 978-0684801520
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Scribner
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