Husband and wife, Tom and Daisy Buchanan are living at fictional East Egg, Long Island in 1922. Across the Sound is West Egg where Jay Gatsby lives alone in a mansion. Nick Carraway, the narrator, lives next door to Jay Gatsby, and is cousin to Daisy. Jordan Baker is a friend of Daisy’s. Myrtle Wilson, who lives in an industrial area nearby with her husband George who owns a gas station, is Tom Buchanan’s lover. Nick becomes drawn to Jay whose mysterious past fascinates him, and he finds out that Jay met Daisy before she was married and is in love with her. On a fateful night, Tom, Daisy, Jay, Nick, Jordan and Myrtle are involved in a tragedy.
“There was music from my neighbour’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On weekends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.”
“They were careless creatures, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money and their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made …”
Even though the story has a simple plot, I did not find it boring because of the author’s writing style – the way he has vividly captured a sense of the time and place of 1920s New York, and how he has portrayed the (mostly) shallow and unlikeable characters.
The opinion of others:
- The Guardian: “While reading this book, I found that Fitzgerald has successfully transported me back to the ‘roaring twenties’, perfectly capturing the rebellious, carefree nature of the Jazz Age.”
- New York Times (Excerpt from a review published in the New York Times, April 15, 1925 written by Edwin Clark): “With keen psychological observation, Fitzgerald discloses in these people a meanness of spirit and absence of loyalties. He cannot hate them, for they are dumb in their selfishness, and only to be pitied. A curious book, a mystical, glamourous story of today.”
- LA Times: (Excerpt from a review by Lillian C. Ford published in the LA Times 1925) “In ‘The Great Gatsby,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald Creates a New Kind of Underworld Character and Throws the Spotlight on the Jaded Lives of the Idle Rich.”… “F. Scott Fitzgerald has in “The Great Gatsby” written a remarkable study of today. It is a novel not to be neglected by those who follow the trend of fiction.”
A selection of other editions:
- The Great Gatsby (1926), directed by Herbert Brenon—starring Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, and William Powell.
- The Great Gatsby (1949), directed by Elliott Nugent—starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field, and Macdonald Carey.
- The Great Gatsby (1974), directed by Jack Clayton—starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Sam Waterston.
- The Great Gatsby (2013), directed by Baz Luhrmann—starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire.