Scan 5About The Great Gatsby:

The Great Gatsby is one of the great love stories of our time. In it the author distilled the essences of glamour and illusion so powerfully that his book has haunted and tantalised generations of readers.

When did I first read this? 1975

What age was I? 13

How may times since then? This is the seventh time that I can be sure of, possibly more

Thoughts about the book:

I was at quite an impressionable age when I read this. I think the reason I first got a copy was the fuss around the release of the film in 1974 starring Robert Redford (I had quite a thing about him at that age having seen Butch Cassidy and The Sting) and Mia Farrow who looked so ethereal on the cover of the film-tie in version which is the first edition I bought. I think I’m on my third copy now having learned not to lend it to people as I don’t get it back (I now buy books that I want people to read rather than part with my precious volumes).

I remember that it had a huge impact on me. I think it was the first really proper adult literary novel that I had read (other than some of the classics like the Brontes and Robinson Crusoe and so forth) and I was amazed that (even though I’m sure I didn’t understand half of it) so much could be captured in a book that was so short. I think I realised that Gatsby’s story was tragic both because what happened to him was unfair and because his own desire to recreate himself and try to recapture a past that never really existed was never going to end well.

As I’ve got older and re-read it I have come to really dislike Daisy for all sorts of reasons (I always hated Tom for being a bully and for setting up the denouement as he did), and realise just what an unreliable narrator Nick is (as a young reader I don’t think I was entirely aware of the concept and took everything Nick said at face value, and of course he is one of the very few people who stick by Gatsby at the end).

I was thrilled to read this again as part of my Big Re-Read project but also in preparation for the new film (which I will review over at Bride of the Screen God shortly) and to find that it has lost none of its power or lyricism. I still think it’s one of the greatest novels ever.

So we beat on, boats against the current , borne back ceaselessly into the past.

This was Part 2 of my Gatsby weekend