The Great Gatsby

Paperback | September 30, 2004

byF. Scott Fitzgerald

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The authentic edition from Fitzgerald’s original publisher.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

From the Publisher

The authentic edition from Fitzgerald’s original publisher.The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, ...

F(rancis) Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on September 24, 1896. He was educated at Princeton University and served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919, attaining the rank of second lieutenant. In 1920 Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre, a young woman of the upper class, and they had a daughter, Frances. Fitzgerald is perh...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.4 inPublished:September 30, 2004Publisher:ScribnerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0743273567

ISBN - 13:9780743273565

Customer Reviews of The Great Gatsby

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Great Gatsby A classic! Good, quick read.
Date published: 2016-11-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book It can be seen as a love story at first but the author shows the struggle of a man wanting to have the american dream. So relevant in our society today!
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book I had to read this for my English class, it started out boring. But I must say it is a good read
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! This book is not about a tragic love between a man and a woman. It is about an ambitious man who is trying to achieve his hope and dream- the American Dream. In addition, F. Scott Fitzgerald has reconstructed perfected the society in 1920s- the lost of morality.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from PARTY This book is a riot!
Date published: 2016-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Glad I Read It Before I read this book, I had heard many things about it, both good and bad. This caused me to feel skeptical when I chose to read it but I have no regrets. This story is wonderfully written about the time in the 1930s when people wanted to be seen for something they were entirely not.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ignore the stupid glizy film and read the novel. Baz Luhrmann's film makes the novel seem like a twee little fairy tale, but between the covers, you will find one of the most beautifully written novels ever devised. This is not hyperbole. There were times where I could only sit and stare with a great sense of awe at just how magnificent the writing was.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Read The Great Gatsby is such a classic read, and you can't go wrong with something that is a classic.
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from classic This was definitely better than the movie. I watched the movie first but didn't enjoy it so I was hesitant to read the book, but I'm glad that I did because it was definitely better. However, I didn't like any of the characters, so I couldn't enjoy it as much.
Date published: 2016-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING This is probably my favorite book! Recommend everyone to read it at least once in their life. Will not be disappointed!
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel also a man in the bond business rents a house in West Egg and the neighbour to a wealthy man named Jay Gatsby. When Nick attends a dinner hosted by his cousin, Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom in East Egg Nick meets Jordan Baker, a women he begins having a romantic relationship with. Nick had always been suspicious about his neighbour until he is invited to one of his extravagant parties at his house. At this party, Jordan tells Nick that Gatsby had known Daisy in the past and has been deeply in love with her ever since. Nick sets up a reunion between Gatsby and Daisy were they instantly fall in love and begin having an affair. When Tom believes that his masculinity is being tested due to his theory that Daisy is having an affair he becomes furious, although he himself is having an affair with Myrtle Wilson, a girl who lives in the valley of ashes known as a dump. All hell breaks loose when a witness saw Myrtle, Tom’s mistress get murdered in Gatsby’s car. Tom gives Myrtle’s husband Gatsby’s address and tells him that he was the one driving, later than day George murders Gatsby. Nick always desperately wanted to be part of the inner circle and now that his way in has died Nick moves away, leaves his friendships behind and leaves his dream behind and goes back to his outsider's life. This piece of iconic literature is just absolutely amazing; F. Scott Fitzgerald manages to add so much symbolic meaning to just about anything. Fitzgerald does not use much pompous words but instead seems to value the simplicity of literature, leaving it the readers choice how they interpret his words. Everyone should read this novel because it is absolutely so amazing, no film will ever do the writing justice.
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Good A classic read, with just the right dynamic of characters. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book is one I read once every few years and every time I do, I discover something new. I feel something different, I catch onto another detail, and I feel like it's a new experience every time I read it. It's a very enjoyable read filled with so many emotions.
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE IT I adore this book! Makes me want to have parties!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant I wasn't one for classics before I read this book but it absolutely blew me away! I owe my love of classics to this read!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Novel This is such a fantastic novel, one of the best that I have ever read in my life. I had to read it for an AP English class and I am so glad that I did. Everyone should read this.#plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful and Sad If you're looking for a sad story told with gorgeous, lyrical prose, it doesn't get any better than this. Fitzgerald said, give me a hero and I'll give you a tragedy, and none of his books is a better example of this than Gatsby. 5/5 stars does not do this book justice.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An American classic #plumreview Great foresight into where America was heading despite being in a so-called golden age. Fitzgerald shows despite the promise of the American dream to make yourself into anything you want, the past is never gone, it's not even past.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This is a pretty good classic. The great Gatsby had fascinating characters and a really nice setting.
Date published: 2016-11-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read it when I was 16 13 years later and It's still a favorite.
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All time favourite book I loved every aspect of this book, it was amazing.
Date published: 2015-09-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A wonderful flight into an older era with almost seemingly magical character. I watched the movie before I read the book. I actually had to read this book for book club and was great-full for the change of pace. The last book was over 500 pages and still took me a day to read either way, but I actually like The Great Gatsby's movie which was spot on the book. I was glad this was the book chosen for Book Club. I felt that Gatsby was a good character, but felt confused by him. He seemed to contradict himself in some situations but I felt he was a character developed well. He was by far one of my favourites in this book. my other favourite was probably Nick, the narrator. We knew the most about him, as it was from his point of view. I felt Nick was a good narrator as he would explain things that some audiences may not understand. Daisy's character seemed to be left to open in the end of the book. She was one of my least favourite characters because of the lack of love she shows for Gatsby in the end of the book and that made me lose all the respect I had for her. After seeing the ending in the movie, I had kind of hoped the book would be different but, like I said earlier the movie was spot-on. I was warned ahead of time I might have a hard time reading this because it was written "way back when" but honestly I had no problem reading it. I actually liked it more than I thought I would because it was one of the classics. I generally don't like classics for I feel it has a lack of romance, which I can't read a book without, but this one was actually really good. Rating: 6.9/10 Parental Rating: 14+
Date published: 2014-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Where do I begin with this one? Gatsby is a classic and was on my optional reading list for school. I had chosen another novel to read but decided to read this one too because there was a movie coming to theaters that I had a major interest in seeing. I heard from many people that this was “the best book they have ever read” and that it “kept them entertained for hours”. However, when I read it, I did not experience the same thing. Even though it was very well written, I found this novel uninteresting and hard to get into. Maybe it was because this novel is almost a century old and the diction of writers has changed since then. Maybe it was because I read it at a time that I didn’t have a lot going on and was using this novel to keep me entertained. Or maybe it was because I had such high expectations for it. Overall, The Great Gatsby tells a great story of a man and his parties. It is a deep novel that will invoke some deep thinking. I personally think the movie was more enjoyable than the novel, quite possibly because there was less description of what was going on and more dialogue. I have found that I enjoy novels with some description but with an equal amount of dialogue just to keep things interesting. I believe that if this novel were to have more conversational portions, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. All in all, if you are looking for a thought-provoking novel that must be read more than once to get the full meaning; then this is one for you!
Date published: 2013-10-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Is opulence king? Guess it may fair well in some circles... It took a little to get into the story and characters (as I had a hard time relating to any of them), but also takes place in the late 20s/early 30s in the Jazz Age. You meet uber-rich couple who don't show love to each other or their child. But end up broken-hearted with drama that entails this classic tale. You may be rich, but happiness may not find you.
Date published: 2013-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A modern classic "The Great Gatsby" is widely considered a modern classic, and I can easily understand why: it has depth, emotion and an "eloquence" that is hard to describe. F. Scott Fitzgerald creates a haunting look at the richest poor man in the world, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby isn't everything that he appears to be. He hosts all encompassing parties where almost everyone from New York is invited to attend, lives in a mansion, and has servants galore, but in the end he has nothing. Now the reason I did not give this book more stars is because there were occasional stretches of tedium that did not focus on Gatsby at all and did not seem to have anything to do with the main plot. Given that the book is only 183 pages long, those short stretches seemed to be longer than usual and really took from the flow of the book. Still very good despite the not so happy, but expected, ending.
Date published: 2013-05-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Once was enough So I really wanted to re-read Gatsby before the movie opens at Christmas 2012. I had read this book in high school and was afraid that I had missed the enjoyment factor of the book because I was too busy over-analyzing the story for an english project. However, turned out I really didn't miss much of anything. The language Fitzgerald uses really speaks to the excesses of Gatsby and his elite friends, turns of phrase such as "bleeding fluently" really stand out for me. However, there really wasn't much to the story itself, and I grew bored, pushing myself to read through to the end. One read through was definitely enough (but I am looking forward to Hollywood's version!)
Date published: 2012-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! The Great Gatsby is one of those books that everyone should read at some point in their life. The book is getting close to being a century old and is still present in pop culture. Like many ‘classics’ it is tough to put your finger on what exactly is so great about The Great Gatsby. All I can say is that there is just something about it. An aura that very few works of art can achieve and continue to radiate many years later. It is a story where all that glitters is not gold. Where a person’s social status may not correlate with their character. It also has the original legendary playboy Jay Gatsby whose parties are so well described by the narrator they grab a unique hold of your imagination. The reader will easily find intrigue. I found myself amazed at how universal the story remains despite its deep roots in a period of history. The book captures a time where the economy boomed and emotions were volatile but the human story is where the real magic is. To me, The Great Gatsby is ‘the’ Great American Novel. Check out my first published work Defenseless
Date published: 2012-07-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Classic Read If possible I would have given this look 3.5. It was an enjoyable little read. It was not an absorbing book, but the plot I found realitivly simple and easy to follow. This is a classic worth the time and energy to read.
Date published: 2012-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Jewel of the Bygone Era I like the charm you get in this book. If you know the history and the things that happened in the U.S. during the Roaring Twenties, I bet you can read through this classic. It is about a love story when love between a man and a woman is still a serious affair. Women are treated like trophies by men (especially rich men). It is an interesting novel to read over your long days. It might be a classic but is still, nonetheless, a really good book to read when travelling. It takes you in a whole other time when money is abundant and when lost love is filled with bittersweet memories.
Date published: 2012-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read The Great Gatsby is possibly the most well-loved of all of Fitzgerald's books for its explorations of the American dream and lost love. Basically, the book is about a man named Gatsby who is madly in love with Daisy. Years later, he becomes rich and throws extravagant parties at his place to try and attract her. The results however, only end in the unraveling of Gatsby's beloved dream. It is not the most thrilling read; only one or two parts were really exciting, and the book paces on at a slow, leisurely place. It is not as great as I have seen reviews to make it out to be, but it certainly is a good piece of classic English literature. It is also very short, so if you are looking for a good short read, give the Great Gatsby a gander.
Date published: 2011-08-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from horrible! This has got to be one of the worst books I have ever read. From the beginning to the end, nothing is really interesting. The plot was boring and at the end it seemed like all the characters we're killed off to finish the story. I don't know how this is "a classic"
Date published: 2010-12-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Hard to follow If you like a book about how dramatic others peoples lives are then you will like this book. It is like a soap opera and all about the characters. Personally I did not like this book at all mostly to do with falling asleep trying to realize who is having an affair with who.
Date published: 2010-11-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Character Analysis This book is definitely a book all about the characters. You have to take a step back, reflect on all the events passed, and dissect all the characters to fully understand their actions. I know that is a very generalized description, but that's one what I can put it. It may not be a page turner, but it's a thinker.
Date published: 2009-09-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a fan It may be a classic, but I had to force myself to keep reading. I love to read, and I found this particular book kind of painful.
Date published: 2009-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read This Again Okay, admittedly this is a very safe pick - probably all of you were forced to read this classic of F. Scott Fitzgerald in high school. But the reason this 1920's novel is still studied is it's continued relevance to how things are today. The yearning we all feel to "live the good life", as how it's portrayed by the media, has never been stronger, so surely we can all identify with Gatsby's hunger to be accepted as part of society's elite. Of course, it's all an illusion, isn't it. As Gatsby finds out the hard way, and as the narrator and the reader come to realize. F. Scott Fitzgerald had enormous success as a young writer, and then faded quickly, dying at a relatively young age, mired in obscurity.
Date published: 2008-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For the hopeless romantic.... I never expected to name The Great Gatsby as my favourite book of all time but when I finished it I knew that it had to be. There's something magical and lyrical about Fitzgerald's writing; its more than writing it's like art! If you're in love with love and the beauty of words then do not hesitate to pick up this book! "All I kept thinking over and over was you can't live forever, you can't live forever...."
Date published: 2008-04-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Then the book gets really good around page 120. Then it's over. So I started reading this book, and I found it really boring. Okay, there's this guy, Gatsby, who's kind of mysterious and it turns out he changed his name. Maybe I missed a crucial detail, but his "transformation" is simply not that interesting. Then the book gets really good around page 120. Then it's over.
Date published: 2008-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "They carelessly smashed up things and people..." Fitzgerald's writing is the most beautiful I've ever read! Only he could ever pen the words, "young clerks waiting in the dusk wasting the most precious moments of night and life...". the story in it's short beauty is perfect! i find no flaws in it and i highly recmmmend it to anybody with a romantic spirit.
Date published: 2008-03-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ain't we got fight club: Not really a review of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby There is much I could say about THE GREAT GATSBY that would do justice to its already established place in the literary canon. It is a great book. Even if it isn’t one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best, it still stands as one of the great novels that you can read over and over again. Given what I can’t say about it, I’ll write about what I can say about it. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk may already know this. THE GREAT GATSBY was Palahniuk’s model for FIGHT CLUB. Early on Palahniuk identified it as the book most influential on his interest and writings (Illiterary). On several other occasions he’s also remarked: “I think that the central, most American literary theme is the invention of the self. We see it in Henry James’s Bostonians; we see it in The Great Gatsby; we see it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s…” (Powells interview; see also A.V. Club interview). He also mentions it in the foreword to the latest edition of Ken Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest. Palahniuk’s work swirls around the reinvention of identity. Over and over again. Jay Gatsby is one of the great reinventions of identity and for what? Love. So, how surprising is this? Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Nick Carraway. Tyler Durden, Marla Singer, and the narrator. See my February 2008 post in the Reading Chuck Palahniuk archive for the links cited above. There are too many great lines and quotes from the novel to begin even the vaguest sample, so I won’t.
Date published: 2008-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Book The Great Gatsby is very riveting. I found myself having troubles setting it down. I decided to dip my toes into a new reading genre and I'm very glad I did so. This book gives us all some analysis and connection with certain aspects of life. I don’t know about other readers but at points you could completely empathize with the characters and what was happening to them. It truly gives an essence of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s insight on life, personalities, relationships and how they are interconnected, and in some odd cases suffocate you. At worst relationships can undermine your better judgment, and take over your sensibility. You are constantly making judgements about characters, and they change very quickly. We get to ‘know’ the characters, and feel from Nick’s view. We explore the worse and best of falling into your past. He makes you think a bit. I’m sure some would call this book tedious. I just think those people need to give it a chance and read into the societal and psychological motions. It is timeless, and you can absolutely imagine this twentieth century book with modern day issues. This is a stunning success. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I adore Fitzgerald’s writing. It's a classic.
Date published: 2007-03-07

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Read from the Book

CHAPTER I In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men. Most of the confidences were unsought—frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon; for the intimate revelations of young men, or at least the terms in which they express them, are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope. I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat, a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth. And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart. Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction—Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the “creative temperament”—it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No—Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men. * * * My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this Middle Western city for three generations. The Carraways are something of a clan, and we have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on to-day. I never saw this great-uncle, but I’m supposed to look like him—with special reference to the rather hard-boiled painting that hangs in father’s office. I graduated from New Haven in 1915, just a quarter of a century after my father, and a little later I participated in that delayed Teutonic migration known as the Great War. I enjoyed the counter-raid so thoroughly that I came back restless. Instead of being the warm center of the world, the Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe—so I decided to go East and learn the bond business. Everybody I knew was in the bond business, so I supposed it could support one more single man. All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if they were choosing a prep school for me, and finally said, “Why—ye-es,” with very grave, hesitant faces. Father agreed to finance me for a year, and after various delays I came East, permanently, I thought, in the spring of twenty-two. The practical thing was to find rooms in the city, but it was a warm season, and I had just left a country of wide lawns and friendly trees, so when a young man at the office suggested that we take a house together in a commuting town, it sounded like a great idea. He found the house, a weatherbeaten cardboard bungalow at eighty a month, but at the last minute the firm ordered him to Washington, and I went out to the country alone. I had a dog—at least I had him for a few days until he ran away—and an old Dodge and a Finnish woman, who made my bed and cooked breakfast and muttered Finnish wisdom to herself over the electric stove. It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road. “How do you get to West Egg village?” he asked helplessly. I told him. And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood. And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breathgiving air. I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities, and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Mæcenas knew. And I had the high intention of reading many other books besides. I was rather literary in college— one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the Yale News—and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the “well-rounded man.” This isn’t just an epigram—life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all. It was a matter of chance that I should have rented a house in one of the strangest communities in North America. It was on that slender riotous island which extends itself due east of New York—and where there are, among other natural curiosities, two unusual formations of land. Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound. They are not perfect ovals—like the egg in the Columbus story, they are both crushed flat at the contact end—but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead. To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size. I lived at West Egg, the—well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them. My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season. The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard—it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion. Or, rather, as I didn’t know Mr. Gatsby, it was a mansion, inhabited by a gentleman of that name. My own house was an eyesore, but it was a small eyesore, and it had been overlooked, so I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn, and the consoling proximity of millionaires—all for eighty dollars a month. Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water, and the history of the summer really begins on the evening I drove over there to have dinner with the Tom Buchanans. Daisy was my second cousin once removed, and I’d known Tom in college. And just after the war I spent two days with them in Chicago. Her husband, among various physical accomplishments, had been one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven—a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anticlimax. His family were enormously wealthy—even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach—but now he’d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away; for instance, he’d brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It was hard to realize that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to do that. Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together. This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it—I had no sight into Daisy’s heart, but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game. And so it happened that on a warm windy evening I drove over to East Egg to see two old friends whom I scarcely knew at all. Their house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay. The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens—finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as though from the momentum of its run. The front was broken by a line of French windows, glowing now with reflected gold and wide open to the warm windy afternoon, and Tom Buchanan in riding clothes was standing with his legs apart on the front porch. He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could hide the enormous power of that body—he seemed to fill those glistening boots until he strained the top lacing, and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous leverage—a cruel body. His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward people he liked— and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts. “Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters is final,” he seemed to say, “just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you are.” We were in the same senior society, and while we were never intimate I always had the impression that he approved of me and wanted me to like him with some harsh, defiant wistfulness of his own. We talked for a few minutes on the sunny porch. “I’ve got a nice place here,” he said, his eyes flashing about restlessly. Turning me around by one arm, he moved a broad flat hand along the front vista, including in its sweep a sunken Italian garden, a half acre of deep, pungent roses, and a snub-nosed motor-boat that bumped the tide offshore. “It belonged to Demaine, the oil man.” He turned me around again, politely and abruptly. “ We’ll go inside.” We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosycolored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of the ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea. The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor. The younger of the two was a stranger to me. She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless, and with her chin raised a little, as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it— indeed, I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in. The other girl, Daisy, made an attempt to rise—she leaned slightly forward with a conscientious expression—then she laughed, an absurd, charming little laugh, and I laughed too and came forward into the room. “I’m p-paralyzed with happiness.” She laughed again, as if she said something very witty, and held my hand for a moment, looking up into my face, promising that there was no one in the world she so much wanted to see. That was a way she had. She hinted in a murmur that the surname of the balancing girl was Baker. (I’ve heard it said that Daisy’s murmur was only to make people lean toward her; an irrelevant criticism that made it no less charming.) At any rate, Miss Baker’s lips fluttered, she nodded at me almost imperceptibly, and then quickly tipped her head back again—the object she was balancing had obviously tottered a little and given her something of a fright. Again a sort of apology arose to my lips. Almost any exhibition of complete self-sufficiency draws a stunned tribute from me. I looked back at my cousin, who began to ask me questions in her low, thrilling voice. It was the kind of voice that the ear follows up and down, as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again. Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour. I told her how I had stopped off in Chicago for a day on my way East, and how a dozen people had sent their love through me. “Do they miss me?” she cried ecstatically. “The whole town is desolate. All the cars have the left rear wheel painted black as a mourning wreath, and there’s a persistent wail all night along the north shore.” “How gorgeous! Let’s go back, Tom. To-morrow!” Then she added irrelevantly: “You ought to see the baby.” “I’d like to.” “She’s asleep. She’s three years old. Haven’t you ever seen her?” “Never.” “Well, you ought to see her. She’s——” Tom Buchanan, who had been hovering restlessly about the room, stopped and rested his hand on my shoulder. “What you doing, Nick?” “I’m a bond man.” “Who with?” I told him. “Never heard of them,” he remarked decisively. This annoyed me. “You will,” I answered shortly. “You will if you stay in the East.” “Oh, I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry,” he said, glancing at Daisy and then back at me, as if he were alert for something more. “I’d be a God damned fool to live anywhere else.” At this point Miss Baker said: “Absolutely!” with such suddenness that I started—it was the first word she had uttered since I came into the room. Evidently it surprised her as much as it did me, for she yawned and with a series of rapid, deft movements stood up into the room. “I’m stiff,” she complained, “I’ve been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember.” “ Don’t look at me,” Daisy retorted, “I’ve been trying to get you to New York all afternoon.” “No, thanks,” said Miss Baker to the four cocktails just in from the pantry, “I’m absolutely in training.” Her host looked at her incredulously. “You are!” He took down his drink as if it were a drop in the bottom of a glass. “How you ever get anything done is beyond me.” I looked at Miss Baker, wondering what it was she “got done.” I enjoyed looking at her. She was a slender, smallbreasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her gray sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face. It occurred to me now that I had seen her, or a picture of her, somewhere before. “You live in West Egg,” she remarked contemptuously. “I know somebody there.” “I don’t know a single——” “You must know Gatsby.” “Gatsby?” demanded Daisy. “What Gatsby?”

Editorial Reviews

James Dickey Now we have an American masterpiece in its final form: the original crystal has shaped itself into the true diamond. This is the novel as Fitzgerald wished it to be, and so it is what we have dreamed of, sleeping and waking