sábado, 3 de enero de 2015

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald


* New review after watching the movie that I shouldn't have watched but I did anyway. *

First review
Fitzgerald's writing style is simply brilliant. He wrote a great story in a few pages. It is beautifully written, easy to read but it doesn't underestimate the reader. And the ending is always resonating in my head. Those humble and yet magnificent words. This writer created a meaningful and beautiful work without sounding pretentious nor mechanical. A remarkable task.
Above all the superficiality of the characters, their strange yet familiar vision of the world, there is a story of love, regret and lost hopes.
I recently bought this book. With all that Di Caprio fever, I wanted to read it before I surrender to the temptation of watching the movie (that ruined a couple of books for me). Maybe I should have read this before, but it is never to late to read about a dreamer and his never-ending quest. Yes, you can reinvent yourself from nothing until you reach the point of absurd materialism; however, that seems a bit easier than reaching to that green light that a lot of us can't even see.

Post-movie review
The other day, I finally watched the movie. And thank god I didn't watch it before reading the book. I didn't like it that much. It was such a vulgar freak show to watch. Like a weird circus with nice (and sometimes too over-the-top) visuals, lousy anachronistic music at times and poor content. The actors are fine, I liked their performances (despite Luhrmann's inability to understand the characters' real personalities; I hope that wasn't on purpose), but the movie, that adaptation is just too bizarre for me. I mean, reading the book was a delightful experience. Fitzgerald's lovely lines are now vulgar images.
Anyway, that film made me think about this novel again, so I re-read a couple of chapters and some of my notes. And there are some things I didn't write about. For example, what a bitch Daisy turned out to be. I kind of like her at first, but then, she wasn't better than any of those selfish people that Fitzgerald described so perfectly:
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
I didn't get that, at first, even though the author is telling me she and Tom are the same, right there. “Idiot, read again, it is right there. Do you want me to spell it for you?”. I'm guessing I didn't want to believe Gatsby spent his whole damn life chasing a dream that was beneath him. In the end, he wasted his life for someone that just wasn't worth it. He created Gatsby out of nothing to be with Daisy.
"They’re a rotten crowd,’ I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’"
Another thing I didn't point out in my previous review was Gatsby's lonely death. A new-rich man, victim of society's most delusional rumors, that threw amazing parties attended by hundreds of people, suddenly, dies in the most pathetic solitude; people were to busy to pay their respects. Sure, they didn't know him, most of them, but you had an open bar, free food, music and stuff for quite some time, was it too hard to stop by and wave at his tomb? That is just common courtesy.
He died almost alone. That is one of many ironies life mischievously gives us. When you're up, you are surrounded by hundreds of friends, everyone's free for you. When you're down (or dead, in the worst-case scenario), only a couple of them stay at your side. The real ones. Those you know you can count on. Because everybody is there for whatever you need, until you need something.
This book reminds me I love humanity, as a concept.

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