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The Great American Novel...NOT!
on 11 March 2013
I purchased this book for two reasons: the remake of the film is due out this month and also it was referred to by Nelson Demille in the author's note in his novel 'The Gold Coast'. He mentioned something along the lines of being inspired by the Great Gatsby and, his novel being set in the same area albeit in more modern times, hoped it might be compared favourably with it. Having now read both, I can only say that DeMille's novel is far superior...
The problem I have is not with the plotline, in fact in the right hands it could have been rather good. I simply felt, the whole way through (short as it is!), that there was something lacking and, at the end of the novel, I came to the conclusion that it was a lack of depth to the characters: unlike other novels there is no opportunity to 'get to know' the characters therefore you do not form any sort of emotional bond with them, feel any of their emotions or actually care what happens to them! I find it incredible that this book has been described as 'the great American novel'!
I think the storyline will translate to film very well, which probably accounts for the book's popularity over the years as viewers of the earlier versions of the film have probably gone on to read the book. However, my recommendation is to simply enjoy the glitz and glamour of the film and forget about the book.
One further point is the quality of the 'printing': I bought this for Kindle and there were numerous errors. Having not read the book in hard copy I cannot say whether this is limited to the Kindle version, but it's rather disconcerting when two entirely separate subjects are crammed into one paragraph. Or perhaps this is actually indicative of the quality of F. Scott Fitgerald's writing in general...?
Overall, this book really was a disappointment and I will be deleting it from my account...