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14th October 2013

Classics digested: The Great Gatsby

Olivia Stevens revisits the novel that captured the Jazz Age – and our imagination

WHO is the author?

F. Scott Fitzgerald is commonly cited as one of the best writers of the 20th century. His work is strongly associated with life during the Jazz Age. Many of his works were heavily influenced by his turbulent marriage to Zelda Sayre. He only published four novels during his lifetime, with his final work, The Last Tycoon, released posthumously. His other focus was short stories, of which he published several collections. Two of his most famous were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Babylon Revisited, both of which were adapted into films.

WHAT is it about?

Told from the point of view of Nick Caraway, a young man who has recently moved to New York, the story starts with Nick visiting his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom. Here Nick discovers Tom is having an affair which is known to all but Daisy. Nick finds a new house next to the home of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, a man famous for his extravagant parties which he never seems to attend. Over time Gatsby and Nick grow closer, due to Gatsby’s desire to find Daisy, a woman he was due to marry years beforehand but who was deemed too poor. As the summer continues, and the temperature rises, tempers become frayed and tragedies occur.

WHY should you read it?

A contender for the great American novel and often placed amongst the most distinguished works of American literature, The Great Gatsby is a book very close to many people’s hearts. It has often been adapted into other mediums such as film, ballet and even video games but the novel is the original and the best version due to Fitzgerald’s exquisite use of language. And it’s less than 200 pages. How often can you read a classic in an afternoon!

Classic quote

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

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