We all read this book in high school, and so we all take its meaning and depth for granted...until we read it again with more age under our belts! The nuanced, poetic writing of Fitzgerald just seemed to mean so much more to me at age 36 than 16. I can better appreciate the angst and mourning of decay in the 1920s because it's so similar to the feeling of loss and decay that we experience now with the end of one era and beginning of another. Fitzgerald's writing comes alive with Jake as the reader. he does a beautiful job, and it's no wonder he is such a successful actor: Because he is good!
What I love about this story is that we can all find ourselves in Gatsby. We are all weak. We all have experienced love and loss. We all have trouble letting go. We all desire something more, beyond what we have, and we all must fall and die at some point. The themes in this book are universal and true, and Fitzgerald is a master at giving us this enigmatic, elusive character who ends up being a weak boy in yearning for love with Jay Gatsby.
Jake's reading voice is so understated. He does a great job at Tom Buchanan's rough and tumble voice. I love the vulnerability he shows when George Wilson mourns the loss of his wife, and he says "Oh, god, Oh, god," over and over. I really do believe it with Jake reading the novel. This was an excellent audio book.
Towards the end, when Nick describes his cousin Daisy and Tom Buchanan as being careless people who smash things up and then retreat to their money, and how Nick is really a Westerner (Midwesterner) and how he felt he never quite belonged with the people of the East was just lovely. It made me feel so much more compassion for Gatsby at this point in the novel.
One of the best. I've listened to it twice now, the older version when I was re-reading it before going to see the movie and immediately after seeing the movie because I found the critical reception upseting. I thought for a movie trying to remake The Great Gatsby the movie was pretty dead on. I know it was Lermany (like my new word) but of course it was. With a story as brash as The Great Gatsby, Lerman needed to be over the top and I think that Fitzgerald would have been pleased. But, I digress. I thought Gyllenhaal's reading was very well done -- understated, not too emotional, but easy to follow.
Gatsby. How can it not be Gatsby?
The ability to listen to the book in the garden, in the car... everything that a good audio book can give you, this gave me.
Yes, (SPOILER ALERT) the funeral and that no one showed up.
Such a classic in American literature. If you haven't read or listened to this since your high school days, you really should. You will have a much better perspective now than you did in high school, well, at least I did.
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
This is truly an excellent book to listen to--even if classic literature is not your favorite genre. It is not what I normally listen to, but this version was certainly enjoyable due to the fabulous narration by Jake Gyllenhaal. I am glad this was resurrected and re-recorded to coincide with a new version of the movie opening in theaters this month. Certainly worth any time and credit spent!
I read the print version in high school and just re-read via audio book and I thought it was fantastic. It really brings it to life in a completely different way
Great, highly recommended!
This has to be one of my top ten favorites - no one can deny that this is one of the greatest American novels ever written.
There's a reason we all have to read it in high school, although lamentably we're mostly too young to understand it very meaningfully at that age.
Impossible to say - the myriad interpretations offered by various symbols; the forgiving and compassionate way human folly, hypocrisy, and unthinking offhand cruelty are portrayed throughout the book; the equanimity of the narrator; the rich detail of the descriptions of wasteful yet magical opulence; the heartbreaking, love-soaked idealism of Gatsby juxtaposed with the completely amoral and brutal source of the income with which he intended to pursue Daisy; ok so this is already too long and you didn't read it.
My review is really about supposed to be about Jake Gyllenhaal.
In short, his narration allowed me to fall in love with the characters.
Jake Gyllenhaal lends a quality to Nick's telling of the story that provides insight into varied aspects of the book - things I would not have understood quite as richly as a female reader with only a page in front of me.
He brings phrases such as "old sport" to life without the cartoonish and annoying cadence my brain would have imposed on them.
His voice is perfect for this. He's at just the right age to play Nick, whose point of view is so essential, and he perfectly portrays Nick's character as earnest, thoughtful, self-aware, unblinkingly critical, and yet still compassionate.
Gyllenhaal also has a more than impressive vocal range to bring the various other characters vividly to life. His portrayal of female characters is notably nuanced.
I'll be listening to anything and everything else he chooses to read.
Jake, please keep reading stuff so I can listen to it!
I loved the reader, Jake Gyllenhaal, and I loved the book itself. They could not have picked a better reader for this masterful work of art!
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
There's good news and bad news.
First the good news: As expected, Fitzgerald writes beautifully and has clearly communicated the decadent and dissolute atmosphere of the time and people of whom he writes.
The bad news: I just didn't like any of the people of whom he writes. Reviewer Melinda has cheerfully offered a 21st century version of Gatsby, and I totally agree with her "then vs now" comparison. Fitzgerald's characters have the depth of the Kardashians and the moral compass of Lindsey Lohan. Gatsby himself is little more than a celebrity worshipping groupie trying to sell himself as one of the beautiful people in his effort to make his delusional fantasy of love and riches with Daisy come true. I found nothing authentic or admirable about any of the supposed loves, as every one of them is self-serving at the core. The single honorable act was Gatsby trying to protect Daisy, but even that reveals a basic contempt for another person's life. Nothing "Great" in that.
I know this is a classic. I acknowledge Fitzgerald's use of words. As a reflection of the "lost generation" of which he was a key member, this is a literary reality show. I just didn't enjoy the show very much.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” Steinbeck
I believe the alchemy of time, place and the right talent and drive can create in an author the story and words to compose a portrait of truth and beauty that transcends time; a work of supreme art so rare and splendid that it is revered because our soul longs to be transported to the splendor of a moment in time and desires to be granted the providence to create something so divine that through it we may survive on this Earth forever.
As rare and astounding as the art of Rembrandt, Renoir and Rodin, F. Scott Fitzgerald's short novel casts a spell on me in his painting Love, Truth, Mythology and Tragedy in words so poignant, eloquent and gorgeous that I, a mere mortal, cannot do them justice, so I must quote (though I typically prefer not to):
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”
“His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
“And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
This is my favorite American novel. JG does a super job narrating it.
This is a classic American novel that I can't believe I hadn't read earlier. Having just finished it, I can see why it is a classic. Great story that made me feel like I was living the lifestyle of the 1920s that the author described so vividly. Jake Gyllenhall did a fabulous job narrating and the tone and cadence of his voice made me want more and more. My only regreat was that I finished it too quickly.
Jake Gyllenhaal's vocal quality is perfectly adequate to convey Nick's story, but unfortunately there are several passages that are read incorrectly (i.e., with emphasis on the wrong words or phrases) and presumably the director didn't call these out because Jake Gyllenhaal is a BIG STAR. I am compelled to recommend the late great Frank Muller's narration over this one.