The Great Gatsby

This morning I finished reading

of which the above is the title page and the frontispiece;

and next the front boards and spine.

Tim Andrews has provided a knowledgeable and insightful introduction in which he states that ‘Fitzgerald’s fascination with the very rich and his concern with their corruptive and destructive power had been treated earlier in his fantasy, ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ ‘

As usual, I will refrain from giving away any of the story, save to say that it relates a truly terrible tragedy in the Shakespearian sense – the result of harbouring a long term dream.

The spare, elegant, lines of the illustrator reflect those of the writer, who wastes no words in which every noun, adjective, and adverb carries maximum weight and the narrative races along with the rhythm of the hedonistic Jazz Age of the 1920s, in the wake of the First World War.

Fitzgerald may well identify with his narrator, but he has no love for the profligate culture of the privileged rich who live for pleasure and exploitation. People of doubtful morals don’t seem to really care for others, despite their propensity for affairs.

We are kept engaged from the opening sentences, through the shocking surprise, to the carefully controlled closure.

Widely regarded as the author’s masterpiece I have no quibble with that, although I have not read much more of his work which is said to be variable.