I have heard this referred to as “The great American novel” and yet until now I had never read it. But I had seen two of the movies based on the book, the 1949 version staring Alan Ladd and the more recent 2013 version with Leonardo DiCaprio. I found both unmemorable except for the ending. I was put off reading the novel because of its reputation of being a classic as I thought I would find it too complex and long winded for me to follow. Then I heard that it was only just over 100 pages long so I thought I would give it a go.
The book is famous for its descriptions and I must admit that they are superb. There is not a great deal of action but there is a great deal of the characters talking about each other and principally about Gatsby. The story is seen through the eyes of one Nick Carraway, a young man who works in New York’s Bond market, and who lives in a small house next to Gatsby’s huge mansion where Gatsby is renowned for holding lavish parties. Thus all the descriptions and the motives attributed to the characters are made in Carraway’s own words. This means that the reader is entirely dependant on his judgement about the validity of the events in the novel as they unfold.
The book is very readable and the plot held my attention right to the end even though I knew the outcome having seen the films. However, I am yet to be convinced about the greatness of the work and if it indeed it is worthy to be considered a great American classic. But please read it and decide for yourself.