This week’s Throwback Thursday is the great novel of the jazz age: F Scott Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby.
The thing is love story, set in a version of Long Island packed with grand mansions that aren’t quite grand enough. Here we meet our lead man: Jay Gatsby, loaded with mysterious money, and a penchant for throwing extravagant parties at weekends.
Gatsby is surrounded by some of the worst people in literature – all of them flawed to their very bones. A cheating champion golfer, a rich man who has an affair with a garage owners wife, a bond salesman.
Horrible characters, but written beautifully. There’s a poetic power in this book, with Fitzgerald conjuring characters, emotions and scenes like a master painter. Everyone who’s read it remembers some kind of beautiful quote from it.
A love story this may be, but the theme of this book seems to be about the human capacity to dream – about how our hopes and ambitions are constantly re-invented as our lives move onwards. In Gatsby’s case, it’s his fateful need to keep the same dreams he always had, despite the fact that everyone else has moved forwards.
Here’s the thing with this book… I just didn’t *get* it.
I’ve read it three times, and I still don’t know why people love it so much. Yeah, it’s interesting, and is written well, but the plot is nothing but an anecdote (at best), and I can’t get behind any of the characters.
Why do people love it so much? If you do, let me know in the comments – I’m happy to be corrected on my opinions here, because I’m clearly in the minority on this one.
In the meantime, enjoy a nice gif of DiCaprio doing his thing: