Home > Literature, Reviews > Review of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Review of The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

I bought this a couple of weeks ago on the basis that it was a famous old book and therefore it must have something to recommend it. Having now read it, I’m not entirely sure what that something would be.

The story is about a youngish guy, Carraway, who arrives in New York (state, I suppose) with the intention of making a career out of bonds and finds himself living next door to Gatsby, a mysteriously wealthy man who puts on huge parties. It turns out Gatsby is in love with Carraway’s cousin; this latter’s husband (Carraway’s cousin-in-law?) is having an affair with a garage owner’s wife. Apart from the events at the end of the novel, this about sums up the plot – which is a large part of the reason I didn’t like The Great Gatsby all that much. It was far too simple for my taste – very little actually happens, and it all seems rather small-scale and ultimately pointless.

This pointlessness may be, well, the point of the book. It reminded me a little (although only once I’d finished reading it) of Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. Obviously not because of the sex and violence (of which there is only a very little – although more is implied), but because it focuses on a decadent, hedonistic society (which is also funded by a financial boom) comprising of shallow, self-absorbed people who often speak at cross-purposes or in non sequiturs. I didn’t much like American Psycho either.

One of the things I did like about the novel is the author’s poetic turn of phrase, but this wasn’t enough (or employed consistently enough) for me to particularly enjoy it. Ironically enough, The Great Gatsby – much like the character himself – wasn’t all that great.

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Categories: Literature, Reviews
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