First published in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s american novel, The Great Gatsby is claimed to be one of the best fictional pieces of its time. It traces the american society through tales of triumph and tragedy. It is a picturesque reflection of the society he was a part of, which was the Jazz Age, post the First World War. It was a war unlike any other and the Jazz Age was a time of incessant celebration and alcohol, a life of luxury, a life which aimed to capture each day because that is exactly the kind of impact the war left on the America of 1920’s. In fact, one of Fitzgerald’s most attractive aspect of writing is how he captures the social and political scenario which was rather chaotic.
Jay Gatsby, whose only desire is to be reunited with his lost love, transitions from extreme poverty to absolute wealth and the novel is a poignant tale of his life. It is narrated by Nick Carraway who is Gatsby’s neighbour.
Fitzgerald’s writing is almost like music, emitting American melody of lost love and friendship.
The characters are eerily related to Fitzgerald’s own life. Like Gatsby’s central character, Fitzgerald also had an intense romantic imagination- “a heightened sensitivity to the promises of life”. Fitzgerald’s own life can be seen as a desire to accomplish those promises and the ultimate American Dream. In another reading we might assume that Fitzgerald’s divided nature has been represented in the book- the man who has been dazzled by the american possibilities and the charm of that era, as opposed to the calm and composed Princeton characteristics of Nick Carraway who might be looking at the entire scenario with side eyes of suspicion.
While reading this book, I felt like I could connect with the emotions that the author was aiming for. It was engaging and fast paced. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is the kind of a book from where one quotes throughout their life and is hooked with the Age of Jazz. One might even go to the length of searching through YouTube and finding jazz maestros like Sidney Bechet and Bix Beiderbecke and enjoy the possibility of enjoying these musicals along with the text itself.
After surviving mediocre sales and mixed reviews throughout Fitzgerald’s life, the U.S. military saved this book by ordering several copies of this book in order to promote the romantic idea of a war veteran achieving the American Dream. After the release of the film based on this novel, the sales soared. Fitzgerald, who aimed to make this book his ultimate masterpiece probably succeeded and he would’ve been happy to know about its glorious success. sadly, before dying at 44 as an alcoholic and striving to make ends meet, he only saw rotting copies of ‘The Great Gatsby’.
If you’d like to read about a dynamic and dramatic tale of an intriguing mystery man, about the most luxurious parties of the time, about lost love and friendship, this becomes a must read.