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November 10, 2010

Can Money Buy You Love? Not According to Fitzgerald!

thegreatgatsby-bookcover To revisit the pages of the unforgettable novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has always been a great pleasure for me. My fascination with the 1920s and the Jazz Age are fully satisfied every time I read this novel. My one regret is that despite the fact that I know, without a doubt, that F. Scott Fitzgerald was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, and that his magnificent prose was written originally in the English language, I have never actually read his novels in English. So perhaps I will be forgiven if I focus more on the story in The Great Gatsby instead of the form in which it was written. Wouldn’t we all like to be young and supremely wealthy with our only worry being which days of the week we want to play tennis down at the club? If the American dream is to achieve wealth, Fitzgerald methodically tears this dream to shreds in his novel. He presents a dark side to the supposed freedom and glamour that come with being wealthy – especially in the case of one of his characters by the name of Jay Gatsby. Although we spend much of the novel feeling that there is an impenetrable mystery surrounding Jay, we eventually discover his story is very much a rags to riches tale with several shady aspects (including bootlegging and dubious connections) involved. There is romance in this novel, but certainly not in the way a first time reader would expect. Fitzgerald was a master of intricately weaving characters together and it is suffice to say that you will soon be caught in a web of trying to recall who is in love with whom and why. The real lesson to be learned is perhaps to understand that money really can’t buy you love, no matter how much you try. Don’t be deterred by the love aspect of the book, however, because it is above all a very great tragedy. I don’t want to entirely ruin the ending for anyone, so I will stop at saying that people die….yes people, as in more than one person. I hope your curiosity is piqued, because this novel is just short enough to be an easy read and yet complex enough that you will be kept guessing until the end. Enjoy! :)