The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a novel set in America during the wild and roaring Nineteen-Twenties. Nick Carraway is lured into the centre of Gatsby's bustling social life only to end up eventually disappointed. Everyone at one time or another has had high expectations of a party that go unfulfilled. Perhaps the music was wrong, the host was stressed out or you just realised the guests were a little too shallow and fake.
Gatsby appears to float in and out of his own celebrations, unloved and almost bored. And as long as he is opening his mansion's doors to the world, no one seems to even care whether he is there. Carraway slowly realises that the other partygoers are like moths drawn to a shaky fluorescent light globe. "In [Gatsby's] blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."
So the guests all end up drunk and unhappy by 3am. The women in yellow dresses, owl-eyed men and boys in white flannel lose their shoes, balance and tempers to the night. Like the fruit delivered to Gatsby's door pre-party they leave the next day, empty and used. "Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York - every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves."
It has been said that with this book author F. Scott Fitzgerald offers the reader a critique of the American Dream. The characters, though rich, pretty and young, are still left with a sense of wanting more. For those of you who like a side of action with your social commentary, don't worry, Fitzgerald will deliver. You will be enthralled by his depictions of road accidents, gunplay and maybe even murder.
Rumour has it that Australia's own Baz Luhrmann has a big-budget film adaptation of The Great Gatsby in the works, so it's a good time get acquainted with the East Egg and its inhabitants, if only for the bragging rights of "I was into it before it was cool."
Don't worry if you want to party like Gatsby but can't afford the Rolls Royce or the chauffeur in a "uniform of robin's-egg blue". This edition of the book, re-released as part of the Penguin Popular Classics series, will only set you back $9.95.
5 out of 5
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