Bram's Reviews > The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Apr 02, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009, favorites
Read in January, 2009 , read count: 2

I was talking to a friend the other day about this book, and we both agreed that it was overrated, especially since it is sometimes/often claimed to be the greatest American novel (or at least of the last century). After reading This Side of Paradise out of a yearning for college nostalgia, I decided to give Gatsby another go. And it quickly became evident that my recent supercilious comments on its quality were based only on vague recollections of high school English and my own tendency toward conversational ostentation. This work is not overrated. Not at all. The aspect I found particularly fascinating is the use of deception--all of the characters deceive (both themselves and others) with reckless abandon throughout the novel, which Nick is somewhat over-ready to relay to the reader. And even after he claims that "everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known", his own reliability as a narrator is eventually called into question by his (ex)flame, Jordan (as if his overly-innocent passivity throughout the novel wasn't enough of a tip-off). No doubt about it--this is a masterfully-concocted tale in which Fitzgerald displays an almost preternatural economy of storytelling.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Moira (last edited Feb 07, 2010 06:01AM) (new) - added it

Moira Russell No doubt about it--this is a masterfully-concocted tale in which Fitzgerald displays an almost preternatural economy of storytelling

I think that's one of the things I love best about it -- it's so short, and yet it has SO MUCH in it! and doesn't feel short at all. It's completely immersive. You just live in his language, while you're reading it.


Bram Ack, you make me want to read it again right now! That was the thing that surprised me so much during the reread last year--it's so short, but everything is so well-placed and complete.


Lori Huh, well after reading this review and also Elizabeth's, I'd say I need to reread it as well. Yes I think I'm different than I was in high school, at least I hope so! That said, Tender is the Night is my favorite Fitzgerald.


message 4: by Bram (last edited Feb 07, 2010 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bram I still need to pick up Tender Is the Night. Have you read that one, Elizabeth?


message 5: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Elizabeth wrote: "and I tried a play, which was impossible to follow.

Oh, The Vegetable? OMG that's horrible. Not even the die-hard completist fanatics (who me) like that one.

I'm sure Moira will tell us how sad we are for not having read it yet in just a minute"

//DIES AWW. -- Well it really is one of my favourites too - I read Gatsby first, and then the public library was selling used paperbacks for a dime and I got a very raggedy version right after that! Still have it. It's not really 'like' Gatsby -- I mean of course it's the same person with the same style and preoccupations -- but Gatsby is short and sharp and focused, the novel of someone totally coming into his own on the third try, and Tender was written after nearly a decade of effort and false starts and waste and drunkenness -- and it shows, too. The structure is shaky but it's kind of a very deep book, it really touches you unexpectedly and makes you think. There are a lot of gorgeous set pieces in it, but darker than the ones in Gatsby. It's got a really haunting quality - it's v Keatsian.


message 6: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Bram wrote: "I still need to pick up Tender Is the Night. Have you read that one, Elizabeth? "

OMG READ IT READ IT READ IT....you will not be disappointed. It's so good.




message 7: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Lori wrote: "That said, Tender is the Night is my favorite Fitzgerald. "

Man, if I had to try to pick between Gatsby and Tender, that would be terribly hard....Gatsby is so bright and sharp and vivid and vigorous, Tender so sombre and dark and moving. Kind of like those two Rembrandt self-portraits everyone contrasts.




Gary I am so glad that you reread this,and changed your opinion.....I have loved this book since the first time I read it....


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