by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Until The Great Gatsby, nothing compared to the works of Nikolai Gogol––at least, in my mind––with regards to successfully capturing its time and place and transporting the reader there, this time 1920s New York rather than the old Ukrainian countryside. I really have to commend Fitzgerald on this point; he extensively knew the ins and outs of the culture, the culture that he seemed to despise.
I must also commend Fitzgerald on the eloquent prose shaping this tale. The plot––itself quite simplistic––was buttressed by flowing descriptions and interesting dialogue. Although, if I am to throw ‘interesting’ around flippantly, it should probably be used to describe the complexity of the characters, who were constructed realistically. Some truly embrace the upper-class lifestyle that surrounds them. Others appear to want to reach out to those around them, but they remained trapped in the superficiality of their status.
Ultimately, the tragic end left me feeling relatively indifferent, mainly because the poor choices made by the characters were realistic. What came about were truly horrible circumstances, but I find it hard to fault those involved because of their misconceptions going into the situation. I can’t help but feel that greater emotional involvement would have elevated this tale from a good one to a great one.