The Great Gatsby is a tricky little book. At times it is clear as daylight, and sometimes it gets lost in the dizzying lights of jazz-age New York. The prose seems to follow the lead of its characters and get less and less comprehensive with each drink of julep, until it turns into a choppy memory the next morning. Nick, the narrator, is obviously drunk half the time and ends up swallowed up in endless swirl of parties and champagne, mingling with chosen few who do not speak poor. At the same time Nick stands out among his fellow party-goers and offers somewhat of a critical picture of the absurdness and melodrama of the rich.
It all opens with a gossip. Of course, the gossip and airing of private affairs in public is the driver of the lives of those who drink in the morning and die young while driving expensive cars. You see, it’s all unnecessary complicated. We have the dashing Tom, who openly cheats on his trophy wife Daisy. Daisy turns the blind eye to the whole affair, while playing at her perfect life in a perfect house and ignoring her little daughter. Then there is Jay Gatsby, who turns out to be an old love interest of Daisy, hoping to win her back. Whatever some people say, he is obsessive and creepy. He lives in his own fantasy world, where Daisy still loves him, hoping that one day she will step into one of his parties and they will live happily ever after. I honestly think Daisy is unable to love anything – even herself, – but she likes to amuse herself with amorous mood swings to get distracted from the barren waste that is her life. I openly (and bitterly) laughed at the scene, when Gatsby finally lured Daisy into his house and tried to impress her with all the new-found riches he earned since losing her to a wealthy man. At one moment Daisy bursts into tears, lamely complimenting his collection of exquisite shirts. Nick is left confused. Had she finally realized how her life would be different if she waited for Jay a little longer? Had she genuinely been moved by the beauty of imported textile?
The ending is strange and marked by a myriad of unnecessary deaths that are a direct result of the selfish acts committed by the selfish people. The car accident was somewhat of a fitting end to the dramatic exit of Myrtle Wilson, and Tom’s indirect involvement in the shooting incident defined him as a sneaky white-gloved bastard he was. I keep asking myself if I’d ever give this book another spin. Maybe when I’m old, and worldly, and have a better understanding of human flaws and virtues. The younger me did not care for The Great Gatsby.