The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

81nbyAfBiAL._SL1500_Filling in something of a gap in my literary acquaintance. For years I thought I actually had read this, but then I somehow realised that my memories of doing it in high school English around year 10 or 11 were completely wrong; I dimly recalled we were supposed to read it at some point but for whatever reason we never actually did so. I do recall reading a bit of it back then—up to about the beginning of the second chapter, cos I recalled the ludicrous giant spectacles—but certainly never finished it. Can’t recall why the school gave it to us if we weren’t going to study it. WHATEVER. The point is that, now, on January 10 2016, I have finally read The Great Gatsby, some 25 or 26 years after we may or may not have been supposed to do it at school. Was it worth the wait? Um… not really…

I was interested to learn that Gatsby‘s place in literature as “the Great American Novel” wasn’t always as secure as it is these days; though it was filmed in 1926 (said film no longer known to exist), the book drew middling reviews in its day and sold comparatively poorly, and its reputation didn’t pick up until Fitzgerald was no longer around to enjoy his belated success. I’m a bit puzzled as to quite why it did obtain that success; basically I just felt there was something kind of cold and dull at the core of it. It is, to be sure, eminently well-written (though Fitzgerald meant the book as a self-consciously “literary” work as opposed to his “commercial” short stories and it does tend to feel that way at times), perfectly readable, and I was able to get through it in one day (it’s not particularly long). I just don’t think I actually felt anything for any of the characters; Gatsby himself just seemed pathetic rather than the tragic character Fitzgerald evidently wanted him to appear as. As far as great 1920s romances go, I think I’ll stick with Herr Murnau’s Sunrise

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: