Top positive review
a novel with themes that reach beyond the narrow limits of its time
October 23, 2018
The Great Gatsby is a recognized classic. Interestingly, the book did not sell very well during Fitzgerald’s lifetime, and when he died in 1940 he seemed to have regarded the book as a failure. When he died, scholars started to assess his work, and The Great Gatsby was recognized as an important work of literature. Besides its recognition, one must also think about its meaning for us in the present day. The “prohibition” period that he writes about was a strangely decadent period in America. Furthermore, the catastrophes of the Holocaust and WWII changed much about the U.S. and its position in the world. Since then, too, there has been substantial progress in civil rights, including the rights of women. In this sense, his novel seems parochial, and not very relevant for us today: Too much has changed about the world. Nevertheless, I think that if you approach the novel with an open mind and some knowledge of the historical context, you can see elements that remain of interest today. Fitzgerald was struggling with themes that are larger than his times, and still speak to us today. In this sense, I can recommend this book.