This has been my favorite book since first reading it and the only book I’ve read more than twice. I’ve always believed Fitzgerald said more in under two hundred pages in Gatsby than most authors have in three or four times as many words. It’s a classic, his best work by far and and considered by many to be one of the greatest stories ever written. If your only introduction to Gatsby has been Hollywood’s movie offerings, do yourself a favor and spend a few hours with this book. Movies will never capture the essence of characters written in word and viewed in your imagination.
Many people believe this is a story about excessive wealth, the divide between rich and poor, arrogance, infidelity, symbolism, material excess, the American dream, decadence and corruption; among other things. All of this is true. But I’ve always believed, at it’s core, Gatsby is a love story. Maybe not the most idealistic and maybe one sided, but a love story nonetheless.
Two paragraphs have always stayed with me. While I won’t tell you where in the book they’re placed, I thought I’d share them with you here. For me, they”re some of the saddest words ever written……
He left feeling that if he had searched harder he might have found her- that he was leaving her behind. The day-coach- he was penniless now-was hot. He went out to the open vestibule and sat down on a folding chair, and the station slid away, and the backs of unfamiliar buildings moved by. Then out into the spring fields, where a yellow trolley raced them for a minute with people in it who might once have seen the pale magic of her face along the casual street.
The track curved and now it was going away from the sun which, as it sank lower, seemed to spread itself in benediction over the vanishing city where she had drawn her breath. He stretched out his hand desperately as if to snatch only a wisp of air, to save a fragment of the spot she had made lovely for him. But it was all going by too fast now for his blurred eyes and he knew he had lost that part of it, the freshest and the best, forever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald