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The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

January 20, 2009

My book group decided to go with a classic for our January meeting and chose The Great Gatsby. I have never actually read this book, so I was anxious to dive in and see what the hype was about.

This book tells the tale of the youthful Nick Carraway and his colorful and mysterious neighbor, Jay Gatsby and his lavish lifesyle on Long Island’s West Egg in America’s Jazz Age.

Gatsby is wealthy and famous for the lavish parties he throws every Saturday night. However, no one knows where he comes from, what he does, or how he made his fortune. Carraway, the narrator, is a young man from Minnesota who, after being educated at Yale and fighting in World War I, goes to New York City to learn the bond business. Honest, tolerant, and inclined to reserve judgment, Nick often serves as a confidant for those with troubling secrets.

On the surface, The Great Gatsby is a story of the thwarted love between a man and a woman. The main theme of the novel, however, encompasses a much larger, less romantic scope. Though all of its action takes place over a mere few months during the summer of 1922 and is set in a circumscribed geographical area in the vicinity of Long Island, New York, The Great Gatsby is a highly symbolic meditation on 1920s America as a whole, in particular the disintegration of the American dream in an era of unprecedented prosperity and material excess.

I am really glad I finally read this novel. I always make a point to try to read as many of the classics as I can. So, it was a real treat to live in Gatsb’s work for a few weeks.

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