Fitzgerald, F. S., & Muller, F. (1984). The great Gatsby. Clinton, MD: Recorded Books.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has long been a staple of the high school American Literature courses. When I took English III (Junior year), we only read the first chapter or so of The Great Gatsby and watched the Robert Redford/ Mia Farrow flick. In college, we talked about Fitzgerald’s influence in American Lit. Due to all of this, I decided maybe I should read the quintessential Jazz Age novel. I checked the audiobook narrated by Frank Muller.
In the early 1920s, narrator Nick Carraway leaves the familiar Midwest and Yale for the Big Apple. Nick moves into an humble cottage in the West Egg, a fictitious area in Long Island Sound. Nick’s pretty but shallow cousin, Daisy Buchanan. Daisy lives with her athletic husband, Tom, in the opulance of their East Egg mansion. In time, Nick pays the Buchanans a visit where he meets Daisy’s friend, female golf player Jordan Baker. Jordan shares with Nick that Tom is cheating on Daisy with Myrtle, the wife of the dimwitted cuckold, George. Soon, Nick finds himself swept up in the decadent lifestyle of his cousin.
Oddly enough, Nick happens to be the neighbor of extremely wealthy Jay Gatsby. The enigmatic Gatsby throws extravagant parties every Saturday. While he has these events, nobody knows much about him. Nick receives an invitation from Gatsby. As it would happen, Gatsby has carried the torch for Daisy and needs Nick’s help. The lives of the whole cast to a head in a high way.
Unfortunately, The Great Gatsby disappointed me. Audiobook narrator Frank Muller voices drones endlessly. I found the characters in this book rather unsympathetic. Of course, Fitzgerald illustrates greatly the obsessive self-centeredness of his characters well. I do trust The Great Gatsby is an excellent record of the life and times of the Jazz Age. While jazz music and the 1920s have long fascinated me, I found I would not have liked being associated with these characters. On the whole, they were a rather unsympathetic lot.
I do think The Great Gatsby has a timeless plot. In fact, I would like to see someone adapt it for another age. Maybe this is the aim of the Gossip Girl television show. Nonetheless, the lack of character identification (at least on my part) left me dissatisfied. Ultimately, I would say the characters were perhaps too much of the gold-plated variety and not the genuine article.
Two out of Five Pearls