19/02/2014

The Great Gatsby (by F Scott Fitzgerald)

F Scott Fitzgerald is considered by many to be one of the best American writers of the 20th century. I had not, as far as I recall, read any of his books - so when I saw his best-known classic available free for the Kindle, I downloaded it, even though I'm sure we have a paperback edition somewhere.

'The Great Gatsby' is a classic, set mostly in Long Island in the US around the turn of the 20th century. It's narrated by a young man called Nick who lives in modest circumstances next-door to the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby. Large and noisy parties are held regularly in Gatsby's home, but he isn't really close to anyone until he befriends Nick.

The author tells a reasonable story which I assume was realistic for the era. The characters all seem shallow and two-dimensional, only interested in money, cars and affairs. Perhaps this was intended, so as to show the shallowness of the era... but it didn't make for a terribly interesting book, in my view. Still, I read it over about ten days while eating breakfast, and it was quite readable, even if I could not bring myself to care about any of the people.

I would not personally recommend 'The Great Gatsby' - but many readers love it. It's not a long book and I suppose it's worth reading as a bit of unusual social history - and also to learn that dubious morals and people's expectations really have not changed much in the past hundred years.

I don't suppose I will read it again. But then, I'm not really a fan of Dickens, either.

Note that the Amazon links are to paperback editions of this classic, rather than the free Kindle versions which can be downloaded on both sides of the Atlantic.

Review by Sue F copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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