Tuesday, 1 October 2013
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I very consciously did not watch the film before approaching this book. The first thing that strikes as I started to read was the sheer extravagance of the sentence structure. This is entirely a matter of taste, and of course the writing era, but for me it is overdone and distracting - on one page I noted there were only four sentences. The plot itself is a very simple one with very little in the way of subplot, making it a very quick read - assuming you can get your head around the writing style.
The narrator is the only character to whom I warmed at all. I have no doubt that this is intentional. The story is about the brokenness of people, obsession, corruption, the carelessness of wealth and you are not meant to sympathise with the characters. You are meant to share the narrator's disgust when he scratches the very thin veneer and discovers the corruption lying beneath.
The story is often disjointed, jumping between plot elements without warning at times. I found myself re-reading pages to see if I had missed anything and I hadn't. It's a little bit like a dream sequence, slightly fuzzy with moments of intense clarity, jumping from one thing to the next and back again.
Yet, having said that, it is a compelling and engaging story that draws you in. Atmospheric and slightly haunting. Well worth a read if you have the time to concentrate on it.