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Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Prodigious research and fierce affection illumine every remarkable page." ---Kirkus Starred Review

About the Author

Sarah Churchwell is professor of American literature and public understanding of the humanities at the University of East Anglia. She is the author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe and coeditor of Must Read: Rediscovering American Bestsellers.

Kate Reading, a freelance narrator for over twenty years, is an Audie Award and AudioFile Earphones Award winner and has been named Narrator of the Year by AudioFile magazine. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, the Washington Theatre Lobby Awards, and the Carbonell Awards in Florida.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (January 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452666695
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452666693
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,570,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S Riaz TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
"The Great Gatsby" was first published in 1925, but Fitzgerald set the novel in 1922, when he and Zelda returned to New York. Fitzgerald was planning his new novel and he wanted to do something different - it would take him two years to finish Gatsby and, in a way, this is a biography of a novel. For, in this book, the author cleverly takes us through the time that Scott and Zelda spent in New York - the events that influenced him and the eighteen months he spent in Great Neck, just outside the city.

1922 was a remarkable year, which began with the publication of "Ulysses" and ended with "The Waste Land". This book seeks the origins of Gatsby, reconstructs the Jazz Age, and shows how Fitzgerald reflected the stories around him. The major news story at that time was that of the murder of Eleanor Mills, a married woman, and her lover Edward Hall; who were shot through the head near an abandoned farmhouse, their love letters scattered around the corpses. The murder of the adulterous couple held America spellbound and was in the newspapers for virtually the entire time that Fitzgerald was in New York.

When Scott and Zelda decided to look for a house in Great Neck, it was a former fishing village that was becoming popular with the rich and famous - "the Hollywood of the East" and which he re-named 'West Egg' in his novel. His time there is exhausting to even read about, with a backdrop of financial swindles, scandals and fads, car accidents, bootleggers, speakeasies, endless parties, bad behaviour and epic drinking binges. Throughout "Careless People", Sarah Churchwell ties everything together into how it relates to The Great Gatsby, with the chapters of her book corresponding to the chapters of the novel.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The challenge to being F. Scott Fitzgerald's biographer is originality of material. What hasn't already been written about a man who died over 70 years ago? On Amazon, there are over 300 biographies listed.

Author Sarah Churchwell's book parallels the genius behind the "The Great Gatsby" to that of a true crime: a brutal double murder that took place in New Jersey at the same time Fitzgerald decamped to Great Neck, New York, to begin work on his third novel.

It's an interesting angle, but ultimately a thin one that can't sustain the 350-pages that comprise this book. While I agree with her premise that the Mills-Hall murders influenced Fitzergald's Gatsby story and characters, the relentless side-by-side construction is too much and bogs down Churchwell's otherwise excellent narrative.

Fitzgerald is famous for mining many real sources and personalities for his works including his wife and an early girlfriend whom scholars believe inspired his Daisy Buchanan character in Gatsby. Weaving in the murder as yet one more inspiration would have been enough, but to hinge her entire work on that singular murderous event and subsequent investigation, news coverage and trial is tiresome.

Churchwell's exhaustive research uncovers previously unknown direct links between other events in Fitzgerald's life and Gatsby's development - she's done her homework - but the 1922 murder story ends up smothering her main literary investigation and earns this work 3 stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must for any fan of The Great Gatsby or Fitzgerald. A mix of genres including biography, history and literary criticism. I thought I knew just about everything concerning Fitzgerald and the writing of The Great Gatsby, this book proved me wrong. The author gives a detailed account of the year that The Great Gatsby is set along with a parallel story of a double murder case ala Devil in the White City. The author points out so many possible inspirations for characters and plot points, and while we may never know for sure if they influenced Fitzgerald it is irresistible to make the leap. Buy this book, the cover alone is worth the price of admission!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are so many books about F. Scott and Zelda. Therefore, some Fitzgerald's fans might say there's nothing new in Churchwell's book. But, CARELESS PEOPLE is much more fun to read. Churchwell gives a vivid picture of the couple and the Jazz Age. It reads like a novel.

The real life murder mystery which influenced The Great Gatsby adds an interesting flavor to understand the Jazz Age. Gossipy mass media's behavior tells us that we haven't changed very much since then.

Actually the word "mass media" was made in1923 according to Churchwell. I enjoy the list of this era's new terminology such as "cool", "wimp", "multi-purpose", and "power play". I didn't know that "market research" first appeared in 1920. It was a new and exciting era for marketing and advertisement, and Fitzgerald was aware of the power of self-branding. He was even ahead of contemporary authors. That's really "cool' !

Churchwell also successfully portrayed the Jazz Age. It's overall a very enjoyable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read many reviews heralding the author's credentials, and the impressive body of work, and the insightful detailed views into the lives of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. But this is a quicksand book. You love the primary subject, you want it to become less tedious, less dreary. You want the frankly odd and juxtaposed murder mystery to become interesting or relevant. And slowly this book sucks you down and down. After about 50% of the way through, I hit bottom and skipped to the last 25 pages. Just to say I finished it.

I gave it two stars because here and there was an interesting tidbit of fact. But I've wasted time on this.. Not to mention $12. Don't waste yours too.
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