The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American Author F Scott Fitzgerald. The novel is about, well, The Great Gatsby, a rich man with a dubious past living in the fictional town of West Egg. Gatsby throws huge parties which attracts the who’s who, a la, Page 3 in today’s context. Gatsby is hardly seen in these parties and most of the guests who turn up for his parties everyday do not even know who he is and don’t even care. Gatsby on the other hand throws such lavish parties in the hope that it would attract his long lost love to come to one these parties so he can rekindle their romance. He comes across the narrator of the story, Nick Caraway, an Ivy League Graduate who takes up residence in the house beside Gatsby’s mansion, he turns out to be acquainted to Daisy, the lady Gatsby loves. Thus starts a great friendship between Nick and Gatsby
Gatsby requests Nick to invite Daisy over to his house (his reordering of Nick’s house and the initial awkwardness when he meets Daisy is rather cute) and thus begins their illicit affair. Illicit because Daily is married to Tom and has a daughter. Tom comes to know of the affair, confronts him and in the turn of events, Gatsby ends up [without giving away the end] losing everything.
The book got me hooked with the title itself, sounds magnificent isn’t it? However it seems this was one of the least favourite titles of the author and he tried changing it to ‘Trimalchio’ which was refused by his Publisher and we had ‘The Great Gatsby’
The next thing was the cover, well I didn’t like it as much, but its story was rather interesting. It seems the cover was designed much before the book was finished, but Fitzgerald liked it so much that he wrote it into the book. You will come across, Nick talking about a bill board with a pair of eyes, well that was inspired by the eyes on the cover.
Now to the story, it is a love story of course, but is flawed and that’s what I really liked about this book. Just like the love story even the characters including Gatsby are flawed. On one hand we have Gatsby who is hanging onto a past and has no qualms about having an affair with a married woman, we also have Tom, Daisy’ husband, who himself has had multiple affairs but is enraged by his wife’s affair with Gatsby. Then we have Daisy, the love of Gatsby’s life, on her first appearance she comes across as a foolish rich woman. I for one wasn’t able to understand her reasons for rekindling her love affair with Gatsby, it wasn’t love for sure, could it be to break the monotony of her life or to get back at Tom, or was it Gatsby’s money? Well I leave you to answer that. By the end of the story we all get to know how shallow she is and so unworthy of Gatsby’s love. But that’s what we the readers realize, the author ensures Gatsby still feels that he has won her love (Here I must say my heart went out to him)
The narrative is simple and fast paced which I liked. The author here also brings out the ostentatious and superfluous acquaintances that money forms. While the whole town gathered for Gatsby’s parties, when the parties finally cease, he is left with nobody.
Will I call it a Love Story? Well yes and No. It is about our past aspirations that we keep carrying into the future without realizing the destruction it is capable of causing us. ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past’ these last lines of the book sums it up beautifully.
I also discovered that it is widely believed that the book is semi-autobiographical. Fitzgerald is also similar to Jay Gatsby, as he fell in love while stationed in the military with a lady named Zelda. She agreed to marry him, but her preference for wealth, fun, and leisure led her to delay their wedding until he could prove a success. The parties that Gatsby throws could be influenced by some of the lavish parties which the author attended but hated. Even the ending of the book is inspired by the real life Halls-Mills case. It would also seem that the book was really close to the author’s heart since his grave is inscribed with the final sentence from the Book
Would I recommend this Book, Yes Of course!!
Have you read this book? I’d love to know what you think about it!