The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those books ‘you have to read’ and I finally did.
My copy has 115 pages and a 14-page introduction. I bought it at the Boekenfestijn.
The prose is beautiful and well-crafted. It is however not unforgettable or the sign of a true genius. It is an easy to read novel. You can feel the emptiness in the novel, you can feel how life was in those days.
I enjoyed this in the novel. Everything is very clean and pure; there are no words and sentences that don’t serve a purpose.
But it is a distant novel. I felt no connection whatsoever to the story or the characters. And the novel is described to us; we’re not a part of it. We know nothing about these characters, we get no motivation for their actions. We feel no relationship between Gatsby and Daisy, no passion, no desire. We know nothing about Tom and Myrtle and Jordan except for what we’re told. Even our narrator Nick is a mystery to us.
This novel feels like a story you tell someone and not like a reading experience.
Jay Gatsby is a man who has the means to do anything but who is hungry for love. He has filled his life with pursuing his dream: Daisy. By throwing with money, organizing huge parties and reinventing himself he tries to win her over. He has the illusion that he can rewrite the past, that everything will be fine if he could erase the last few years. He wants to reclaim the past; he needs to hear that Daisy always loved him so he can go back to a time where they were pure and innocent.
His dream of winning back Daisy aside, he’s empty.
And that idea is very beautiful.