Randall Payleitner

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Book Review #4: The Great Gatsby

Daisy and Nick and Jay and Tom looked keenly on the present moment as if it was all there would ever be. The Great Gatsby is a snapshot of a vivid world where colors and lights and hydroplanes and full orchestras ruled the day.

Lesser writers take pages to set their scenes. Fitzgerald treats the reader like we can handle catching up with the story—he doesn’t use the crutches of excessive commas and cheap filler verbiage.

If you want to understand the pre-Depression 1920’s, the lifestyle of old money, and the prevailing belief in the fountain of youth—The Great Gatsby will be your best textbook. You can sound smart and cultured and you won’t even have to read 400 pages. It’s easier to read than Hemingway and more fun than worrying about the future.

 

Pivotal Excerpt:

He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. (49)

 

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