Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Book Review #82

Thursday, September 16, 2010
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby's youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald's best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair.

From the first words, from the first sentences of The Great Gatsby I started to feel the melancholy and anguish of the whole universe pressing on me. At first I couldn’t really understand what made me feel like that. I wasn’t even sure if it was the book to blame. However, further I was reading, more tangible this feeling was becoming. It grew from a tiny atom into a huge sphere, covering me entirely. And what was a vague vision at first became more and more clear picture of the circus or carnival later. Carnival at the dark, when lights are flashing, music is playing and you could hear laugher all around the place; where children are caring balloons and everybody eating cotton candies; when actors and clowns are performing with smiles and it seems like even animals have wide grins on when they are jumping through the numerous hoops. However, when all the lights have been turned out long time ago and all visitors are gone, the completely different picture can be seen in the rays of the daylight. You can see how rotten and rusty everything is; you can see that the tent of the fortune teller that looked like a mysterious sanctuary at night, now all in patches and mouse holes. You can see actors and clowns without make-up and understand that smiles you remember was nothing more but a professionally painted patches of color. You notice tiered and miserable animals inside of the dirty cages. Now you can see the true and honest face of the carnival, without any tinsel or glamour. This is, in my opinion, what The Great Gatsby really is about.

The Great Gatsby is a tiny and very simple on the surface, but at the same time so powerful and multi-layered. It tells quite a simple story, however it also create unforgettable atmosphere. That’s why I couldn’t answer right away where this melancholy I felt was coming from. It wasn’t because of the actions that happened in the story. It was because of the thoughts that these actions catalyze in me, it was because of the story’s atmosphere.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was undoubtedly a genius, who was able to show in simplicity the most complicated subjects. And I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere deep in The Great Gatsby, in its core essence the answers to the never answered questions can be discovered.


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