The [not-so] Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby has been referred to as the great American novel, a classic, a must read. Now that it’s been read I can tick that box, feel slightly superior to others who haven’t read it when I watch the new Baz Luhrmann film adaptation, but that’s about it.

The Great Gatsby is narrated by new to NY mid-west raised Nick Carraway. He’s gone east to build his fortune and finds himself living next to the ‘great’ Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is a man of great fortune, but also great speculation and rumour. The man knows how to spend his money and how to throw a party, but that’s all anyone really knows about him.

Nick is then the person in the right place at the right time – he’s the cousin of Gatsby’s one that got away, Daisy, and soon becomes the facilitator for an attempt to reignite the spark. Only ‘problem’ is that Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan. Tom’s a man who likes women ‘in their place’ and a man who is also having an affair with the wife of the local garage-man.

As the social calendar continues, we see the jazz era is alive and well – drinking, drugs and saxaphones. Nick becomes firmly entangled in the web of lies and deceit that are all covered up with a mask of respectability, airs and graces. That is until one event triggers a rapid untangling with multiple deaths, finger pointing, and cover-ups.

The Great Gatsby isn’t a long read, and it is well written so if you want to mark classics off your list you can get this one done without a lot of effort. But if you want a classic where you connect with the characters, invest time in them and finish the book with a feeling of wow wasn’t that great, then like me you’ll probably end-up thinking of The Great Gatsby as that Gatsby book that wasn’t really so great.

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