In one of my rare forays into movie-going last week I saw the trailer for the new The Great Gatsby movie. (Heads up: you don’t want to go to the movies with me, I have terrible taste and will talk the whole way through. That’s probably why I get so few invites now that I think about it.) It was so shiny and pretty and it made me want to cut my hair short and reread the book that I loved.
I first read The Great Gatsby when I was in year 11. I was 17 and faux-disillusioned with life. The world of the novel seemed so beautiful to me; it was sharp and glittery but so fragile. When Nick moves in next door to the fabulously rich Gatsby you can feel his life shiver. Life around Gatsby kind of shivers in general and his fabulous parties are held in a perfect balance between his extravagance and disinterest. But it turns out that Nick’s cousin Daisy is Gatsby’s first love and when Nick is bullied into reuniting them everything comes tumbling down.
It’s all surface, and that’s the point, but it really stood out to me on this reading. What was still beautiful was the rhythm and the dialogue. I mean it just reads really well. Daisy and Myrtle’s dialogue give away far more about them than their short lines seem to contain. But overall I kind of wish I hadn’t gone back to it. Insert some green light metaphor here.