“Using elements of irony and tragic ending, it (the book) delves into themes of excesses of the rich, and recklessness of youth.” – Sarah Churchwell.
The Great Gatsby, now considered to be a classic, and one of the best American novels written, was originally published in 1925. What sets this book apart from the various other books is – there are no (artificially) good people! All the characters in this book have multiple shades of grey (as in real life), and their motivations/consequences have been documented brilliantly in fiction format by the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
How far will a man go to convince a woman of his love? What all is he capable of doing, blinded by his love? Will he pursue the women even after her marriage? How does the woman, who is unsatisfied with her marriage, react to it? What will be the consequences of careless actions by two (or more) people in their youth, blinded by their wealth and reckless attitude?
These are the questions that are dealt with, in this novel. The narrator of this novel, is, surprisingly, a minor character who happens to be close to all the main characters. The narrator’s presence is almost inconsequential (except for the location of his house and other such minor things), but he is in a position to know more about each character, and hence inform the reader of the same. This is an interesting decision because, otherwise, the author should have narrated the story and that might have created some distance. Good choice!
What I liked about this book is – people (except the narrator, who is inconsequential anyway) and their actions/intentions have been exposed quite blatantly and there is no sugar-coating of characters, anywhere. There is no “happily ever after” ending either. The brutality of the honesty expressed through this novel will take you aback. That is exactly what I expect to read in a novel (nowadays).
The novel starts slow and seems long-winded before it gets anywhere close to the plot, like any other classic, but all that build up makes us believe in the world created by the author, and adds to the charm when the pace picks up later on. Like any other classic, one needs a lot of patience to read this book (it’s not a breezy read) but you’ll emerge knowing a thing or two more about people, than when you started. The ending is tragic, which suits this novel very well.
I think my decision to read classics is enriching me better than I had hoped. One needs to learn about life and people, and reading such classics is an irresistible part of doing that. I guess.
Do read if you are bored with your “happily ever after” novels. This book will not disappoint you.
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