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message 1: by Kieran (last edited Mar 30, 2008 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kieran Well, not really, but this ranks among the greatest American novels ever written. Freely discuss this masterpiece.


message 2: by Sam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER! i just love everything about it...the way Fitzgerald wrote it, and just everything is so great.


Jeremy It's like a master's class in writing.


Marsha I just finished the first chapter- and I agree the writing is superb. I have to read many paragraphs over and over- first for content, then for process, again for process, and finally for purpose.

I'll confess I don't like the characters at all yet (haven't encountered Gatsby), even though they show their vulnerabilty right away.

Such a short little book. I agree with Jeremy, I will be a better writer if I study it.


Laura I never realy liked any of the charcters. But the writing is amazing and I enjoyed the plot as well.


message 6: by Meh (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meh I'll agree that the writing is good. But I couldn't relate to any of the characters at all. Most of their actions made no or little sense to me. They just seemed so...stupid. Which is the point of the book, I guess. But because I couldn't relate, the book will never reach my all time favorites list. I can't like a story purely for the writing.


message 7: by Jen (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jen Nobody likes Nick? Come on! He never participates in the reprehensible behavior of the novel's worst characters. Realizing his disdain for the emptiness and amorality of the New Yorkers, he returns to the Midwest. He's one of my favorite narrators ever!


Marsha Okay, I've finished now and I do like Nick... a little. I even feel a lot of sympathy for Gatsby- I don't like him, but I feel sorry for him. Poor guy, he would hate that.

I liked the way the novel shifts in time and anecdotes and the language is just perfect. What it has to say about America is just sad, true, but distressing. People like to get nostalgic about the past, but it seems that degenerate behavior was alive and well in the '30s too.

I wonder what values I would compromise to have something I really wanted.




Laura Even having read it multiple times, I never really developed an affinity for Nick. And as far as not participating in the reprehensible behavior, he's certainly not as bad, but isn't there a line (somewhere in the first two chapters) about why he had come out East? I certainly don't despise him, but I don't love him either.


Maxine Weiss I thought Nick evolves over the course of the book. He was relatively young, and there was the sense, at the end of the novel, that'd he'd still have a lot of maturity to gain.

It's really kind of a depressing story, and gets more depressing each time I read it. But, it's great writing.


Norman Nick as a character is not all that interesting, but his narrative point of view is critical to the novel's mysteries and ambiguities. For example, the slow unraveling of Gatsby's true identity and background is largely due to Nick's curiosity and naivety. Note how he wavers between trust and distrust of Gatsby's history.

Another key point is Nick's ambiguous sexuality. Though he has had girlfriends in his past and eventually dates Jordan Baker, he also winds up in a very compromising situation at the end of Chapter Two with McKee, a male photographer he met and showed immediate physical interest in at Tom's party. His fascination with Gatsby could also indicate feelings of latent homosexuality. We're never quite sure, though...and I would argue that this uncertainty adds to the enjoyment of the novel.

Finally, though he is not the title character, the story is really his. Shortly after the climactic moment in Gatsby's life - Daisy's rejection of him in the hotel after learning of his bootlegging - Nick remembers that it is his birthday, a moment that suggests a turning point in his life. Rather than becoming further involved in the immoral world of New York, he senses a re-awakening of himself and a desire to return to his roots. He subsequently breaks up with Jordan, does the 'right' thing in seeing to Gatsby's funeral arrangements, confronts Tom on the street, and eventually returns to the Midwest. Older but wiser, he can now look back on that summer with Daisy, Tom et al. and write his perceptions that make up the first few pages of the novel.





Brigitte I read this book for the first time in high school and have read it again almost every year since; every year it becomes deeper and richer for me. Absolutely love it. Gatsby is such a tragic figure. Daisy annoys me more every year; she is so self-indulgent and selfish. One of my favorite scenes is the early dinner party when Tom sounds like such an ass and is trying to come across as intelligent. The longer I live, the more people I meet who remind me of the various characters. A truly beautifully written story. Hemingway was horribly contemptuous of Fitzgerald yet I don't think any of his works hold a candle to this one.


message 13: by A. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A. Springer Anyone who loved this book should read The Late Gatsby - a mash-up of the original with a classic vampire narrative. It's very different from all the other zombie/vampire mash-ups of recent years - it's well-crafted, not thrown together, and is actually a sort of tribute to the original (a lot of fun details might escape someone who did not read the original.


Horrorshow Kieran wrote: "Well, not really, but this ranks among the greatest American novels ever written. Freely discuss this masterpiece."

Rhetorical question. Why do so many threads start with someone saying how much they like a book and then inviting everyone else to talk about said book, without the original poster making the effort to do so themselves?


Jacque One of the best books I have read. Its about the recklessness of people of that time, how disposable everything and everone is in the land of pleanty. Definately plan to read it again.


Christopher Hated this book in school. Few years later, cleared my mind, now I am hooked. One of the great American classics for sure. Just got "The Best Early Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald" looking forward to sinking my teeth in...


message 17: by Jeff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Norman wrote: "Nick as a character is not all that interesting, but his narrative point of view is critical to the novel's mysteries and ambiguities. For example, the slow unraveling of Gatsby's true identity an..."

OK Norman now I have to read it again!


Delia Colvin Brigitte wrote: "I read this book for the first time in high school and have read it again almost every year since; every year it becomes deeper and richer for me. Absolutely love it. Gatsby is such a tragic figure..."

Brigette, COMPLETELY agree with you about Hemingway versus Fitzgerald!


message 19: by Lori (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Baldi Jeff wrote: "Norman wrote: "Nick as a character is not all that interesting, but his narrative point of view is critical to the novel's mysteries and ambiguities. For example, the slow unraveling of Gatsby's t..."

I will need to read it again, too. The ambiguity is remembered but not the details. It's definitely a huge favorite of mine and probably the only "classic" on my top 10 list. I never liked the books that I had to read in school but this was the lone hold out. I devoured the story and may be the reason that I have always been enthralled with the Jazz Age.


Holly In my opinion, "The Great Gatsby" is the definitive greatest American novel.

I, too, agree with Brigitte, I cannot stand Hemingway and to this day I can't make it through one of his books. The other classic American writers of the 20th century are all fine.....I have enjoyed Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Buck, Steinbeck (who I consider to be the greatest American writer, though so many of his books are so depressing), but Hemingway just rubs me the wrong way.....I think it might be a personality conflict.


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The Great Gatsby (other topics)
The Late Gatsby (other topics)