Saturday, October 16, 2004

Book: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Another book from the Modern Library list of 100 "best novels", The great Gatsby probably wouldn't be considered a novel if it were released today, weighing in at a job-friendly 188 pages. Strangely, you don't really notice the book's thinness until you reach the end.It is another of those books in which not a whole lot happens, there is very little action, the focus instead being on the interactions of the characters. If you don't know the ending in advance (which I didn't), it may take you a little by surprise; it certainly didn't go quite as I guessed it would.The basic outline of the story is, as far as I can tell, that of an age-old love story: man falls in love with woman, but things beyond their control force them apart, then years later man sets his mind to tracking down and marrying woman. Most of the book is about the build-up to the final stages of the man's plans, but as told from the perspective of an acquintance of his, rather than his own.Once again this is a book that shows you don't need lots of explosions and deaths and sex to keep the reader's interest, which from my limited experience of these classics so far appears to be a common trait of them. Perhaps what defines a modern classic novel is a story that keeps your interest even when it moves along at a pedestrian pace.As i mentioned earlier, the book is short, almost too short in fact, but I personally didn't mind as it was a nice, cheap secondhand buy. In fact I didn't pay at all, it was bought for me by a friend, but I would have bought it myself at such a lowly price as it was (less than a quid).Overall, an enjoyable novel, a little old fashioned in this day and age, and certainly not to everyone's taste, but worth a look. 4/5

The Great Gatsby (Penguin Popular Classics) at Amazon

The Great Gatsby (DVD, 1974) at Amazon

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