“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.”
In this case I saw the movie much before even considering reading this novel. The extravagant world of Jay Gatsby during the twenties really came alive on the screen, and it made me wonder how the paper version would be. So I decided to find a copy, and I must say that I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s not the typical novel and the exuberant world Gatsby moves around in might not be to your taste. But it is without doubt that the way F. Scott Fitzgerald is able to show us this world they live in is brilliant. The first part might not be that interesting for those who prefer action, but the second half makes up for it and The Great Gatsby has its share of drama and death.
We get to know Jay Gatsby through Nick Carraway, his neighbor and narrator of this story. Gatsby finds out about the family ties between Nick and his long lost sweetheart Daisy, and asks his neighbor for help in reconquering his true love. Because, as in most drama storylines, Daisy had already married someone else. Jay Gatsby was poor back then and had gone to war… And she was tired of waiting for Gatsby to come back and afraid of losing the priviledged life she was enjoying until then. Slowely and through Nick we come to know more about Daisy, Gatsby and their dreamlike world (and their secrets). Things become more intense when we find out that Tom, the husband of Daisy, has an affair, and then all the different parties meet. It is a big mix of three different love triangles, with Nick in the middle as the only spark of reason within all the chaos. Things escalate towards the end with terrible consequences… And two deaths as a result. It shows us that life is only temporary and that even the most extraordinary things come to an end.
I must say I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby; it is almost a work of art and more similar to poetry than to normal prose. It might not be my normal taste of genre, but it is definitely worth reading.