The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

This post is based on a concept by @homedad. His idea is to celebrate the best books written for children, and he’s doing that here:

I’ve decided to do it a little differently and post the book that I’m currently reading myself. This week I’ve been listening to The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald on a CD in the car.

I remember trying to read this book probably about twenty years ago and really not getting very far with it. It didn’t seem to grab my interest back then and, prior to listening to the CD, I could remember very little about the plot or characters. This time, I really enjoyed it and I’m pleased to note that my tastes have changed dramatically in the intervening years and I’m now enjoying a far broader range of fiction than I was way back then.

The Gatsby of the title is an apparently rich and successful man living in a large house in Long Island. He is somewhat mysterious, no one really knows very much about him. He is said to have served in the Army during the Great War, subsequently spending some time at Oxford University, England, resulting in a slightly English accented voice. Things are never as they seem and as the story develops it becomes clear that he knows the wife of one of the other characters, Tom Buchanan, from long ago, before he became what he is at the time the story is told. It also transpires that Gatsby was not always rich.

The book is read by William Hope who is American by birth but trained at RADA so makes a very believable English-inflected Gatsby. There is a lot of narration towards the end of the book, telling the story to the reader rather than showing it to them. All the action and dialogue stopped abruptly and the loose ends were tied up by the narrator, which really slowed down the pace. This was at the time where it all starts going wrong for Gatsby but it still struck me as if the author had run out of enthusiasm. I enjoyed the story, though, and would recommend it. It was written in 1925, so the style and language used are sometimes strange to modern ears. A film of the story is set to be released by Warner Brothers on December 25 2012. There’s a new year’s resolution for 2013 already!

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4 Responses to The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

  1. Lisa says:

    We read this in bookgroup last year and we all loved it. We then saw the 1974 film version with Robert Redford. I can’t imagine a modern film improving on the 1974 – it was perfect! I think there are a lot parallels with today’s bling culture and obsession with appearances and celebrity, so I shouldn’t be surprised that another remake is on it’s way. It’s a great book though.

    • It will be interesting to see what the new remake does with the book, whether it will be faithful to it or update it for today’s celebrity culture, as you say.

  2. Ally Bean says:

    I remember reading the book in high school and I know that I’ve seen the movie, too. I remember at age 17 thinking that this book was soooo romantic. All I remember from the movie is the gorgeous costumes. Now I have a sudden urge to re-read the book to see it through the eyes of an adult.

    • That’s exactly what I thought, how different it is through an adult’s eyes. If you do re=read it, let me know what you think. I haven’t seen the film but must try to prior to the remake being released.