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The Great Gatsby Paperback – September 30, 2004
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In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Robertson Dean's rich, deep voice sweeps us into this classic with the same straightforward narrative elegance Fitzgerald gives his narrator, Nick Carraway. Dean manages to be moving without dramatic exaggeration, and to distinguish characters, male and female, without resort to stereotyping. He reifies Jay Gatsby in all his ambition and naïveté, and paints Fitzgerald's complex picture of love, power, money, and hypocrisy with simple sonority. This audio is a wonderful experience for old fans as well as first-time Fitzgerald readers, and it comes with a companion e-book. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Jay Gatsby was quite the character, but I do wish there would have been a little more detail behind who he was, and what he did.
I was a little confused by the role his father played in this book, that could have been slightly more detailed.
All in all I do believe I would re-read this, to hopefully catch a few things that I may have missed. The willingness to re-read this should say enough about the book itself.
But there are many parties to follow, and Nick and Gatsby become fast friends, although Nick is never sure of the origins of Gatsby's wealth, or education, or background. Gatsby's intentions become clear enough soon enough. He wants Nick to have a party for Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin, so that Gatsby can re-introduce himself to Daisy. Daisy and Gatsby had known each other five years earlier, and Daisy didn't marry him then, because he was poor. Five years later, Daisy is married to Tom, a big, hulking (Tom hated that description of himself) brooding former football player. Complicating matters further, Tom is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson, wife of a local dim witted auto shop owner.
Undeterred by the fact that the love of his life is now married, Gatsby tries to rekindle his love with Daisy, and after an awkward first meeting, Daisy is professing her love for Gatsby for all to hear, including her husband Tom. Still the five of them, Nick, Jordan, Gatsby, Daisy and Tom strike up a clumsy acquaintance, and take a drive to New York City together. Upon returning from that trip, something happens that changes their lives forever. What is it? Do Gatsby and Daisy ever get to rekindle their romance? Does Nick find out more about the shadowy Gatsby?
I first read this book 30 years ago. I read it with all the enthusiasm of a teenager wanting to pass an English Lit class, which is to say not very much enthusiasm at all. Luckily, for myself, I decided to give this book another try. I read this book in 4 days, not only that, every time I left it, I wanted to read more of it. The book inhabited me, like few have. The descriptions of West Egg are lyrical, almost poetic. The parties Gatsby threw are like some dream out of the Gilded Age, and
I wanted to be at those parties.
Moreover, there are important themes discussed in these pages. The theme of love lost is one of the central themes that Fitzgerald brings to the forefront. Can a love that is lost ever be re-kindled, and if so, is it ever as good as it was the first time? There is an answer that Fitzgerald provides, but I won't divulge it, that is part of the pleasure of reading this book.
The theme of friendship is also examined in this book. Nick is probably Gatsby's closest friend at the end of the book, but how well did he really know Gatsby? Was it a friendship based on mutual admiration, or was Nick more interested in being seen at a Gatsby party, than finding out about Gatsby? Did Nick feel used by Gatsby, so that Gatsby could meet Daisy? Was Gatsby using Nick to meet Daisy, and not for any other purpose? There were passages in this book that made me wonder if Nick even liked Gatsby. That brings up a further question of who Gatsby's friends really were. Did he have any true friends or were they all hangers-on and sycophants? Fitzgerald provides an answer to that question quite emphatically at the end of the book, but again I will not give it away.
I cannot leave this book without some deserving criticism however. The character of Mayer Wolfsheim is a horribly negative Jewish stereotype, and I must say, I was repulsed when I read this character, because it was such a horribly negative portrayal of a Jew, the physical description seemed to concentrate on his large nose, his other attributes seemed to be that he was a gambler, somehow involved in the Black Sox scandal, of fixing the World Series. The image of Wolfsheim mars an otherwise wonderful book. I don't know why Fitzgerald would include it, other than to maybe reflect the anti-Semitism of the age.
The Great Gatsby: A great if somwhat flawed book.
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I'm not sure it's worth going into the actual story. Most people already know about the actual plot, and if you don't there are plenty of other reviews here that can bring you up to speed. In short, as a high school English teacher, this is one of my favorite books of all time. Not because of the plot itself, which is engaging enough, but because Fitzgerald does an absolutely amazing job of making the story seem real, relatable, and relevant. My student struggle to enjoy or relate to most things written before their lifetimes, but most everyone in class is totally engaged when we do Gatsby, and agree that it reads like a modern written piece.
What's more worth mentioning is this specific edition of the book (I'm not sure if reviews for multiple versions are lumped together, but I purchased the hardcover edition). It's absolutely beautiful, with large pages and quality construction. I wasn't sure if it was worth buying my own copy when I have 40 in my classroom, but I'm extremely glad I did. It's nicer to hold and easier to read than the small soft cover editions, looks great on a shelf, and will assuredly last a longer than I do.