Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
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In 1922, when F. Scott Fitzgerald desired to write something new, or in his own words, “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned”, nobody guessed it would turn out to be one of his finest works. Inspired by the parties Fitzgerald attended, The Great Gatsby is one of the most celebrated literary works of American Literature.
The events of the story take place in the 1920’s or so called Jazz Age of our times. The story is depicted by Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran and a ‘bond’ salesman, who just moved in the (fictional) village of West Egg on Long Island. He rents a small house there which also happens to be next door to the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who holds flamboyant parties in his luxurious mansion. Carraway finds himself inexplicably drawn towards Gatsby and later was eventually invited to one of his parties. There he meets Jordan Baker, an amateur golfer with a shady reputation, and Jay Gatsby himself, who recognizes Carraway from their division in the war.
Up to this point in the book, I was perplexed about the character, Gatsby. But as the story progressed and we learn more about Gatsby and his obsession with Daisy Buchanan, a self absorbed young woman, with whom he had a small romantic affair a few years back. We also learn that he stares at the green light at the end of her house in a hope to be with her again someday, and then I really started rooting for him. Carraway becomes Gatsby’s confidant and from their conversations we learn that beneath the cover of all these lavish parties and superficial friends, Gatsby is a sad and lonely man. He thought of the green light as a beacon of hope, a hope for his own resurrection. This melancholy tells us what a hopeless romantic Gatsby has become.
The story is very fluent, with intricate prose and well crafted characters. The writer’s persuasive style is visible throughout the book. With such elaborate descriptions of parties and places, One can easily found itself lost in the fog of mystery that surrounds Gatsby and his mansion. Having said that, the book is not completely flawless. The most obvious flaw to the eye is the lack of an antagonist, which comes from the underuse of shady characters like Meyer Wolfshiem.
Despite the shortcomings, F. Scott Fitzgerald somehow managed to capture the beauty and sadness of the Roaring Twenties all in one book. In elaborately crafted prose, the writer expresses in an allegorical way, the necessity of change and the decadent of those who resist it. All in all, aptly named The Great Gatsby is an enthralling tale of love lost and fortunes made which delivers on every notion of mystery, romance and drama. No wonder this book finds itself in Literary Classics shelf.