Monday, May 19, 2008

The Great Gastby

I liked this book. While it was from the same era as The Sun Also Rises, and I think I remember reading that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway ran in the same circle, it contained so much more plot and more character than The Sun Also Rises. Everything about it was just more interesting, more articulate.

I suppose one reason I enjoyed it was because it's technically a romance, just an old school one without the happy ending. I thought it was really interesting the way the plot is largely a story about Daisy and Gatsby's romance, but that everything is told by a third character, Nick. I'm not sure, but this seemed like a strange way to tell a romance. It meant that during romantic and personal exchanges, Nick was always lurking around. At the same time, it colored the whole story in a different angle than if the narrator was Daisy or Gatsby. Nick is super honest and not very judgey (an attribute I'm not all too familiar with) and this is what allows him to tell the story in the way he does.

I'm not going to lie, I'm always made kind of uncomfortable when books have plot lines that involve people cheating on their partners. So the fact that most of the plot revolves largely around this theme, didn't let me love this book.

Something interesting I noticed that varies from most modern books I read is that the writing is much more subtle. By that I mean that they don't necessary tell you that someone is floating in the pool dead, you kind of have to work to figure that out. Here's the paragraph where you're supposed to gather this:

There was a faint, barely perceptible movement of the water as the fresh flow from one end urged its way toward the drain at the other. With little ripples that were hardly the shadows of waves, the laden mattress moved irregularly down the pool. A small gust of wind that scarcely corrugated the surface was enough to disturb its accidental course with its accidental burden. The touch of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, tracing, like the leg of transit, a thin red circle in the water.

The book assumes a certain amount of intelligence that a lot of modern books don't, and I appreciate being given the benefit of the doubt. Anyways, I thought this was really beautifully written. Not really an absolute page-turner, it was definitely entertaining.

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