Blasphemy for any avid reader I know, but I recently saw the new adaption of The Great Gatsby in the cinema and was moved to buy the eponimous novel of the same name. It is variously described as ‘one of the great American novels’ and ‘American literature at its best’ and I was interested to see if it lived up to its hype.
I’m not saying that ‘great’ books need to be long but The Great Gatsby extremely short and there is clearly scope for more detail. Knowing a little of Fitzgerald’s background and troubled life it is clear that it is his best work but that his future material never quite lived up to the success of Gatsby.
Despite being written in the 1920s it is interesting to note how little has changed in society’s judgement of the extramarital affairs of men and women and how men and women judge the love affairs of others. This juxtaposition dominates the novel and the luxury fulled fantasy world that both Daisy and Gatsby live in is clear comment on the capitalist boom and subsequent bust of early 20th century America.
Overall, I found it a compelling read but altogether too insipid and one dimensional for my tastes which require something decidedly more visceral.