Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott. Fitzgerald
Publishing Date: 10th April 1925
If you read my post on my 2019 reading goals you would remember that one of them was to read more classics this year. The Great Gatsby fills that criteria so I can comfortably say that I’m working towards my goals for this year (or that timing worked in my favour, which would be the correct answer).
To give a basic overview, TGG follows Nick, the narrator and also Gatsby’s next door neighbour. At the beginning Nick knows nothing except his name, however the two become acquainted at one of Gatsby’s parties and soon become decent friends. There’s also Tom, one of Nick’s friends, Daisy, Tom’s wife and Jordan Baker, an acquaintance of the two who Nick meets in the first chapter. Whilst I’d love to divulge into more interesting details and explain more about the relationships between the characters, it’s very hard to do so without spoilers, so I’m afraid you’ll have to read it if you want the plot.
I’m not a bit reader of classics, I must admit so I found TGG a bit difficult to get into at first. I’m sure if you’ve read or tried to read a classic before there’s a clear difference in writing style compared to contemporary novels. TGG is quite a short novel, close to a novella, so as the plot progresses it becomes easier to get into. That said, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed by the plot at the beginning, but that’s partly due to my lack of familiarity with the novel.
All the characters are very evidently flawed, each of them in different ways but in particular : Nick. Nick is the most unreliable narrator, with his view distorted by his love for Gatsby and the rose tinted spectacles in which he sees his neighbour’s (Gatsby’s) life. Despite this, I think his unreliability is almost endearing as it’s terribly unsubtle and I’m pretty sure even he’s aware of it, although maybe not the extent that it’s at. I’ve had several discussions with one of my close friends who studies English Lit and TGG as one of her novels, about how unreliable Nick is and how amusing it is, especially when looking back at in retrospect.
When reading the novel and once I’d finished it, I enjoyed it for sure, but I didn’t really understand it, or at least to an extent to which I was happy with. Due to this, I decided to borrow a guide to read through to help deepen my understanding of the novel, and hopefully, as a result, gain a greater appreciation for Fitzgerald’s writing and realise why The Great Gatsby is such a well-established classic.
The book I decided to read was The Connell Guide To The Great Gatsby and I found that it broke down the novel in a really digestible way, especially for someone who, despite having a great love and interest in reading, am not pursuing it in my academic studies. If you’re in the same boat and have either read or are currently reading TGG I’d highly recommend it.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Great Gatsby as I feel that classics give quite a different experience to modern books in the same genre, mostly as there’s a lot more culture and background information underlying the main story-line and the style of writing.
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