Young bond salesman Nick Carraway tells the story of his millionaire neighbor and friend Jay Gatsby-- in West Egg, New York-- who had a poor upbringing in Mid-West America and used his charisma and business acumen to amass a fortune after he fought in WWI. Jay Gatsby had two powerful dreams propelling him forward: his desire to become a rich man, and recapture the love of the beautiful and vain Daisy Fay, who in the five years since has been married to Tom Buchanan—a man who comes from old money and has a Yale education.
With the purpose of rekindling his love with Daisy, Gatsby throws lavish parties every weekend to see if she may someday attend one, but she never does. It is when he meets famous golfer Jordan Baker at one of his parties—Jordan is Daisy’s best friend-- that he finally catches a break, for Jordan arranges a meeting between Daisy and Jay at Nick’s home next door to his mansion. After five years, Jay Gatsby is still in love with Daisy, but does she feel the same towards him?
Daisy leads Gatsby to believe that indeed she feels as he does and a consuming affair ensues, but at the end of the summer Tom Buchanan realizes that something is going on between Daisy and Gatsby and a confrontation between both men ensues in the suite of a hotel in New York City. It is on their way home from that confrontation--while Daisy is driving Gatsby’s car-- that they get into a hit-and-run accident in which someone dies and that sets in motion events that end up in Gatsby losing his life.
I really liked this book. The narrative is easy flowing with an abundance of beautiful literary images that convey the story without sounding stuffy or dated. The Great Gatsby is at its core a romantic story with a twist because it is about a man with big dreams, one of which eventually costs him the ultimate price. Is love worth dying for? Or rather, is the object of your affection worth dying for? It may be but not when Daisy Buchanan is concerned for she is a spoiled, rich woman with no regard for everyone else’s feelings but her own. Daisy and Tom prove to be a perfect match for each other, as we find out in the end, for she makes messes and he covers her tracks, and vice versa.
The Great Gatsby describes the life of a bygone era with melancholy and regret. Nick Carraway is at the end the only character with a moral compass pointing north, and though Jay Gatsby made his fortune in turbulent times through shady means he was also an honest man at heart, at least a much better person than Jordan, Tom, Daisy and all the others turned out to be.
“For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face: her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened—then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret, like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.” Page 14
“’He wants to know,’ continued Jordan, ‘if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.’
The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths—so that he could ‘come over’ some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.” Page 78
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” Page 95-96