I hardly ever reread books. There have been so many excellent books written that I usually feel obliged to keep reading new ones for fear of running out of time and missing something wonderful. For The Great Gatsby, however, I make an exception.
This Great American Novel tells the story of Gatsby and friends, exploring the empty opulence of people who feel a little out of place in the post-war 1920s. It is a story of wealth, loneliness and wild parties; a tale of tragedy, love and pastel-coloured suits.
It encapsulates the essence of an era with such visual language. The characters are so perfectly drawn, yet some ambivalence is maintained by the narrator’s eking of information from various accounts. It is brilliantly written. The final lines are possibly my favourite combination of words that has ever happened in the history of literature. (Look away now if you don’t want to know the final score.)
‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’
Hats off (preferably cream-coloured trilbies) to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Read it and think about themes of unattainable goals, the failure of the American Dream and the tragedies of the upper class, and then read it again on the veranda with a champagne cocktail and just enjoy an excellent story.