Penguin UK, mm pb, 167 p.
Everybody who is anybody is seen at the glittering parties held in Gatsby’s mansion in West Egg, east of New York. The riotous throng congregates in his sumptuous garden, coolly debating Gatsby’s origins and mysterious past. None of the frivolous socialites understand him and among various rumours is the conviction that ‘he killed a man’. A detached onlooker, Gatsby is oblivious to the speculation he creates, but seems always to be watching and waiting, though no one knows what for.This was actually my December choice for My Year of Reading Dangerously but I stopped by the library last week and there it was and I wasn’t in the mood for Beloved by Toni Morrison, my February choice, but I did feel in the mood for something short after spending such a long time with Dickens so I thought I’d give it a try. Anyway, all these things conspired together so that I ended up reading it this month. Now that I have I actually feel slightly guilty counting it as a ‘dangerous’ read since it wasn’t at all difficult or intimidating. It was short, and concise, with vivid characters, most of them unlikeable but compelling to read about all the same, and it has left me contemplating the shallow, fickle nature of wealth, and the irrational need to show it off. Other than that, I’m not really sure what else to say about it and feel inadequate to try. I imagine there are plenty of study guides around but I think I prefer to just let it knock around in my head for awhile without trying to analyse it too deeply. It was definitely worth reading and is proof that even those books I think I won’t be interested in deserve at least a chance.
As the tragic story unfolds, Gatsby’s destructive dreams and passions are revealed, leading to disturbing consequences. A brilliant evocation of 1920s high society, The Great Gatsby peels away the layers of this glamorous world to display the coldness and cruelty at its heart.
My Rating: 4/5
(#6 for 2008, My Year of Reading Dangerously #2)