Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Great Gatsby

As a part of my Back to the Classics challenge I have recently read The Great Gatsby.

I'm still trying to find out if I love or hate this book - it's an ambivalent relationship.

Let me illustrate...when I started reading it I spent the first 5 pages exclaiming:
why am I doing this to myself again? It is still not to late to stop reading.
But after 10 pages I was already caught completely up in the story.

And on one hand I didn't especially like the characters or the plot, but on the other hand I do not remember the last time a book left me so sad (and threw me into a post reading depression that lasted almost a month)

So I must conclude, while I didn't particularly like the story it still left a deep impact - but I guess that is what a good author can do. That is one thing I like about the book - it is really well written and gives a very good picture of  the Roaring Twenties.

The way it describes the life among the jet set and their everlasting search for new parties and amusement stroke me as very similar to the way many people live their life today - though it all happened 90 years ago. So I guess the themes are still relevant.

The thing I both like and dislike about "modern" classics is that they often focus less on making a plot and more on presenting themes and problems for us to think about. While I like stories that make me think after I put it down, I sometimes just want a good story I can lose myself in. If it also makes me think then all the better.

But I'll admit I look forward to going back to the "old" classics that describe a society and way of living long gone.


  1. You know I like Fitzgerald since I named a blog after something he said. But, like you, I am not really a fan of the stories he tells or the characters he writes. But the way he writes -- so beautiful. I feel the same about Hemingway. Which is weird, because usually it's the characters that make or break a book or movie for me, and also the storyline. But those two... I admire their style and felicity of words so much I will read their books for that alone.

    1. Yes, that's exactly the way I feel! I didn't really like the book while reading it, but by now my memory considers it a glorious masterpiece.

      I haven't read any Hemingway yet, but I intend to - I'm looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time:)

    2. I love Hemingway, I really do. If you want to start of easy, try some of his short stories, or "The Old Man and the Sea." People talk so much about him that he starts to seem sort of scary and unreachable, but that hasn't been my experience with his books at all. He really tried to write as plainly and simply as he could.


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