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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but powerful book
By now, there's little dispute about "Gatsby" being the classic that it is. And if you're not a fan, if nothing else, you didn't have to invest a great amount of time inthe book, for it is not long. But the character of Jay Gatsby is quite unique. Jay Gatsby loves without judgment, without conquest or need. The sad irony is that the object of such noble...
Published on March 28 2006 by Eric L. Neggilfan

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3.0 out of 5 stars Wealthy
I had to read The Great Gatsby for my 11th grade English class. Now I have read the book four times, and I have yet to understand what makes this novel receive all the praise it does. The plot is like a Beverly Hills 90210 episode in the 1920s. The plot is that Gatsby loved a beautiful socialite Daisy way back when. Then Gatsby had to leave for the war, though Daisy...
Published on March 7 2004 by Carol Vassar


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but powerful book, March 28 2006
By now, there's little dispute about "Gatsby" being the classic that it is. And if you're not a fan, if nothing else, you didn't have to invest a great amount of time inthe book, for it is not long. But the character of Jay Gatsby is quite unique. Jay Gatsby loves without judgment, without conquest or need. The sad irony is that the object of such noble sentiment is a shallow yet benign Daisy, a lethargic, bored, and wealthy philistine. Gatsby is not a wise hero, otherwise this novel would be pedantic and obvious. Gatsby shares the shallowness of modern society, and its belief system of material possession. Gatsby is, simply put, 'unaffected', pure, a blind unabashed dreamer. Jay and his friends, all rather crass and shallow except for our narrator and moral moderator, Nick Calloway, go back and forth between cocktail parties, driving under T.J Eckleberg's Eyes, an abandoned billboard optometry advertisement. Themes of T.S. Eliot's hauntingly prophetic Wasteland are echoed. When a drunken night of obliviousness ends in the death of Tom Buchanan's (a fierce egoist and staunch 'realist') mistress, the moral fiber of all those involved break down, and finger's begin to twitch and point.This book is jam-packed with insight about not only the 1920s, but the human condition in general. Filled with metaphors and poetic writing, Fitzgerald has given us one remarkable piece of literature for the ages.
KATZENJAMMER by Jackson McCrae and CATCHER IN THE RYE by Salinger
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The tragedy of a life unfulfilled, unloved and, ultimately, unlived!, July 4 2009
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Great Gatsby (Paperback)
"The Great Gatsby" is a sad book. But perhaps the saddest thing of all is that F Scott Fitzgerald's tragic, moving portrayal of the American Dream demonstrates that the typical American's pre-occupation with the yearning for wealth, class and an easier life can ultimately be so empty, so meaningless and so utterly unfulfilling.

When Nick Carraway left what he saw as a comfortable but mundane existence in the Midwest, he moved East to a magnetic New York City to learn the bond business. Renting a "weather beaten cardboard bungalow" in a town called West Egg on Long Island, he met a distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan; her husband, Tom, struggling to live up to the brilliance of a university football career in New Haven; and his next door neighbour, Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic man whose wealth had originated from mysterious means. The many rumours hinted at everything from Prohibition rum-running to murder.

The actual plot of the story, told through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, is so utterly pointless and virtually directionless as to leave the reader wondering how such simplistic, almost mindless melodrama manages to be so compelling and so captivating.

Nick tells the story of his move to New York City. We learn that Jay Gatsby had fallen in love with Daisy Buchanan several years earlier, at a time when he was an impoverished nobody and couldn't hope to marry someone like her. After Gatsby leaves to go to war, her subsequent marriage to Tom Buchanan is ultimately unsuccessful as Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson, the wife of a local mechanic. Jay Gatsy, now wealthy almost beyond imagining as a result of his involvement in criminal activities - the details of which are never fully disclosed in the story - asks Nick to re-connect him with his former love as he seeks to have Daisy admit that she had never stopped loving him since their first affair many years earlier. Gatsby desperately wants Daisy to confess she had never actually loved her husband at all.

The reader witnesses a non-stop whirl of debauchery as the shadowy Gatsby hosts an endless string of decadent, liquor-soaked bacchanales at his Long Island mansion. The readers are left to question Gatsby's motives as he is portrayed as an observer who never truly participates in his own parties. Indeed, the majority of his guests are clearly pretenders to his acquaintance and wannabe seekers of the trappings of wealth who have never even met their host and wouldn't know him to speak to him on the street.

The climax of the story arrives after a tragi-comic confrontational gathering of virtually the entire cast of Fitzgerald's tale - Tom and Daisy, Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway and his erstwhile lover, tennis player Jordan Baker - sitting in a steamy, overheated, hotel room sipping on iced mint juleps casually discussing whether or not Daisy's future rests with Tom or with Gatsby.

The brim of the cup that is "The Great Gatsby" runneth over with licentiousness, hypocrisy, greed, amorality, false friendship and weak-kneed love - in other words, a veritable cocktail of moral turpitude to sip or swill and digest while pondering its base flavours plus a variety of notes and subtle overtones.

In hindsight, it is also worth considering the irony that, as a bond trader on Wall Street in 1925, Carraway would have had but a scant four years remaining before encountering the Wall Street Crash and the utter collapse of his fantastical New York world. Perhaps F Scott Fitzgerald was prescient as well as a brilliant writer who would have us take away the message that it might be worth a moment to reconsider the true meaning and value of every American's fondest "American Dream"!

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence, Oct. 6 2012
I think, or I glean, that American high school students are required to read this book, held up as a shining example of national literature. Perhaps because I’m not American, this novel wasn’t on any lists when I studied English in high school and university. Just as well; I mightn’t have appreciated it then.

It’s understandable that The Great Gatsby would be taught; it’s damned good. It’s tight, compact, linear, and practically every sentence is a work of art. I bought the audio book and listened to it twice. Then I picked up the novel and read it in a couple of days. It’s excellent; there’s no way around it. It’s also rather different from Tender is the Night, also good, perhaps more evolved, but not nearly as flash or impactful.

If someone employed Fitzgerald’s style today, their prose would likely be labeled too ornate. A shame, because it’s poetic and powerfully descriptive.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rich story, June 2 2005
By 
Monica (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
"The Great Gatsby" is one of the most exquisite books I have ever read to date that deals with most if not all aspects of love and the challenges of life. There is so much to learn especially for us in this modern world where so many people use the word "love" without really knowing what it truly means. The author is so descriptive that I sometimes felt as if I was in the story. He made it easy for readers to penetrate the souls of the characters and relate to their lives.
The character development is prodigious, while prose is outstanding. I felt as much for Gatsby as I have for any other character. He had always had high aspirations, but his dreams were taken away from him by the fact the he had to fight a war, and he could never be the same again. Gatsby's ambition is to have his former love, who is now married to an unfaithful husband, a quest that saw outstanding twist and turns in the story to make it the great read we have heard so much about. This book is truly inspirational for everyone irrespective of race, gender, age or occupation.Recommended stories are DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, THE USURPER AND OTHERS, THE SCARLET LETTER, WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, in the sense that they go to add to this rich theme
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, March 26 2005
Gatsby's tale of love and life, the possibility of the moment realized and the crushing emptiness of a dream lost is so compelling that it continues to speak profoundly about the volatile experience of being both human and American in a world that is increasingly doing its level best to lure us away from the simpler selves we mean to inhabit. There are other themes and topics in Gatsby: greed, corruption, the Jazz Age, the American Dream gone sadly off course. But the compelling message of Gatsby is the romanticism within us all - that there is an incorruptible truth out there somewhere, if only we can maintain the focus to seek it out and the courage to embrace it when we stumble across its path. To read Gatsby is to rediscover the lyricism of the English language, enjoy a good story and be admonished to stay true to our dreams. If you're looking for another great book, try McCrae's "Children's Corner" with its jaw-dropping scenes and great writing style. Can't go wrong with that one OR Gatsby.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A rich story, Feb. 27 2005
By 
Monica (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
"The Great Gatsby" is one of the most exquisite books I have ever read to date that deals with most if not all aspects of love and the challenges of life. There is so much to learn especially for us in this modern world where so many people use the word "love" without really knowing what it truly means. The author is so descriptive that I sometimes felt as if I was in the story. He made it easy for readers to penetrate the souls of the characters and relate to their lives.
The character development is prodigious, while prose is outstanding. I felt as much for Gatsby as I have for any other character. He had always had high aspirations, but his dreams were taken away from him by the fact the he had to fight a war, and he could never be the same again. Gatsby's ambition is to have his former love, who is now married to an unfaithful husband, a quest that saw outstanding twist and turns in the story to make it the great read we have heard so much about. This book is truly inspirational for everyone irrespective of race, gender, age or occupation. I highly recommend it along with:
DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, THE USURPER AND OTHERS, THE SCARLET LETTER
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5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece among masterpieces, July 16 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Great Gatsby (Paperback)
The Great Gatsby holds a special place in my heart. Like Nick Carraway, the narrator, I am a Midwesterner that ventured out East to Yale and returned somewhat disenchanted with the rhythm of life on the East coast. So there are personal reasons for me to identify with the novel, in addition to Fitzgerald's unusual brilliance and mastery of the English language.
This was not always the case. Many people-- some of them very intelligent- often faulted The Great Gatsby for being 'soft' or 'too easy to read.' This is not intentional academic snobbery-- how often have readers taken up a facile book without coming away satisfied? Indeed, the critics of Fitzgerald's time did not take him seriously for similar reasons-- I myself fell within this skeptic group until I reread the novel four years later after heavy exposure to the other literary lights of that time.
Having now read The Great Gatsby approximately twenty times, I have come to recognize the unique power of the novel. It is, as described in the introductory essay, a complete miracle. It is a miracle of social criticism as witnessed by the unsurmountable gap between old and new money; it is a miracle (one might almost say an inevitable result) of the modern schism between the age of hard-nosed science and pure romantism; it is a miracle of story-telling, combining Hemingway's lucid economy with Faulkner's innovation and power. The result is Fitzgerald's characteristic 'magic voice,' which has yet to be duplicated by any author since.
And above all, it is a good story. At the heart of the tale is the use of a partially-involved first person narrator (in the form of Nick Carraway), combining the power of the first-person POV with the sweep and scope of the third person narrative. This stroke of genius becomes even more evident as parallel story lines develop, resulting in the convergence of the two paths and the famous closing scene with the now-transformed Nick brooding on the deserted beach.
There is so much to this book that it is impossible to list all that I admire. Yet paradoxically, unlike other masterworks like Absalom! Absalom!, it is possible for everyone who reads The Great Gatsby to view the work in its totality. It is so natural that it is almost as if Fitzgerald did not write it, and rather, the work appeared completed and perfect of its own volition-- a masterpiece for everyone.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare yourself..., June 30 2004
By 
Josh Daniels "jd83" (Maple Grove, MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Great Gatsby (Paperback)
Prepare yourself, because the following is a less than glowing review of a revered classic. Yes, it's true, I am making myself vulnerable to all sorts of negative votes to express an honest, yet negative, opinion on a "classic" book.
But first, a little plot overview. This is a tragic lovestory told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, a Midwestern transplant to New York who happens to live in a modest house in a very rich neighborhood. He is the narrator, but most of the action is happening with other principal figures, most prominently J Gatsby. Gatsby is a mysterious figure who has gained wealth quickly from questionable means and goes to great lengths to win the heart of the woman he loves...who happens to be Nick's cousin.
The story twists and turns and describes Gatsby's high-rollin' lifestyle -- which would make a great episode in today's world of MTV Cribs -- and melds together several love stories with a great description of the "bored rich" living in the 1920's. The story is very entertaining and moves you along quickly.
So, if this were a novel I picked up without knowing anything about it, I would probably be glowing and gushing all over the floor about it. But it's not. It is "classic" literature whose merits to fit into that category seem to be in debate. Well, here are my two cents.
Some of the arguments that I have seen for this book's greatness are its beautiful language, Fitzgerald's economy of words, and the portrayal of the Jazz Age. And to that I say, first, that yes, the language is very good and I liked alot of the writer's descriptions, but they simply did not blow my doors off like other classics seem to. My personal grade would be a B+.
Secondly, hey, economy of words is great, and I appreciate that an author is able to express him/herself succinctly (as opposed to many non-classic current authors,) but that in and of itself is kind of like an add-on benefit for me, like if the car dealer throws in some customized floor mats or something. That's great, but it's not a deal maker-or-breaker.
Thirdly, I appreciate the portrayal of this period in history. But I really don't care that much about the bored rich in that period of history. By reading some reviewers' comments, you would think that this would be akin to learning about the hardships of Western pioneers or the tribulations of flood victims or something. It's just not that captivating of a topic to me to carry a story, but I guess that is personal preference.
So, to summarize. I liked the book. I give it four stars. But it has a wagon-load of expectations that it is carrying, and I just felt like I was missing something when I was reading it. And perhaps that just means I don't have enough edgukashuns to "get it," but this feeling seems to be a common one among other readers, even those who have finished high school.
Go ahead. Commence with the negatives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the human condition, June 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Great Gatsby (Paperback)
By now, there's little dispute about "Gatsby" being the classic that it is. And if you're not a fan, if nothing else, you didn't have to invest a great amount of time inthe book, for it is not long. But the character of Jay Gatsby is quite unique. Jay Gatsby loves without judgment, without conquest or need. The sad irony is that the object of such noble sentiment is a shallow yet benign Daisy, a lethargic, bored, and wealthy philistine. Gatsby is not a wise hero, otherwise this novel would be pedantic and obvious. Gatsby shares the shallowness of modern society, and its belief system of material possession. Gatsby is, simply put, 'unaffected', pure, a blind unabashed dreamer. Jay and his friends, all rather crass and shallow except for our narrator and moral moderator, Nick Calloway, go back and forth between cocktail parties, driving under T.J Eckleberg's Eyes, an abandoned billboard optometry advertisement. Themes of T.S. Eliot's hauntingly prophetic Wasteland are echoed. When a drunken night of obliviousness ends in the death of Tom Buchanan's (a fierce egoist and staunch 'realist') mistress, the moral fiber of all those involved break down, and finger's begin to twitch and point.This book is jam-packed with insight about not only the 1920s, but the human condition in general. Filled with metaphors and poetic writing, Fitzgerald has given us one remarkable piece of literature for the ages.
Also recommended: BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and OF MICE AND MEN
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5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT BUT SLIGHTLY DISTURBED, June 13 2004
This review is from: The Great Gatsby (Paperback)
In American literature, there are two distinct "schools" that emerged from the Lost Generation of ex-patriates who lived in Paris after World War I. These are the Hemingway and Fitzgerald wings of political novelization.
Fitzgerald was a member of the East Coast elite, the Ivy Leaguers of the Hamptons known as the "idle rich." Hemingway represents a more red-blooded Midwesternism, tempered by the war and it phyical and mental horrors.
"The Great Gatsby" describes a con man from the lower classes of Middle America who remakes himself. He achieves fabulous wealth in the heady early days of the Roaring 20s, at time when the stock market was unregulated by the SEC and such things could be accomplished. In the manner of the Count of Monte Cristo, he makes a fantastic splash on High Society, a nouveau riche pretty boy, supposedly an officer in the Army during the Great War, who owns a huge Long Island mansion and holds enormous Summer parties.
The book centers on the angst of the idle rich, the love affairs of the morally ambiguous, people who must look for newer and more outrageous ways to tickle their fancies. Naturally, Gatsby's attractiveness among the gorgeous socialite women of the Hamptons stirs resentment among the old school boys, who question his validity.
Fitzgerald here describes a world from the standpoint of guilt; guilt at being rich. He paints a picture of people who have money without having earned it, who are not worthy of it in the entrepreneurial sense. This is an elite, liberal view - the opposite of the more hard-scrabble Hemingway world.
Political views aside, Fitzgerald is a fabulous writer who lends a distinct voice to the American literary scene. This is the proverbial Great American Novel.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM
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Modern Classics The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (Hardcover - Nov. 16 2010)
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