The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Can’t say anything about this fantastic novel that hasn’t already been said better. The prose is excellent, it’s well-paced (how I enjoy a novel with no meandering subplots or dalliances), and thematically rich.

The futility of the American ideal of working hard and earning your way into the upper classes is portrayed well; the reproduction of British class divisions in the seemingly free America is a sad irony Fitzgerald clearly thought important to examine. I think the fruitlessness of trying to turn back time is the broader theme in the novel, which encapsulates the more specific American dream and class division themes.

I find the interplay between Gatsby’s fruitless attempts to reproduce the past, and the East Eggers unwitting reproduction of the British class divisions of the past, fascinating. It’s impressive Fitzgerald packed so much depth into a novel much shorter than most of its “Great American Novel” peers.

I happily give it five green lights, and a pair of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg glasses.

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