Listening to Gatsby reminded me why some authors clearly stand out from others as masters of the craft. Fitzgerald's use of language is a delightful reminder of the what storytelling can be. Gyllenhaal's presentation enhanced the joy of listening.
When Jake reads this it is like a 4 hour poetry reading. He reads every sentence like it is the only sentence. I have all of his movies and love this guy. Who knew he would be so outstanding as a narrator. I have loved this story for many, many years and have other copies from Audible, but this is THE best of all.
To me, FSF only writes a sentence that carries the story forward. There is no blah, blah, blah in his writing. Every character in the story is developed. You know them. You care for them. They are precious to the theme of the story. He writing has this amazing sense of humor. For example, when they buy the dog off of a dog peddler on the street. Just incredible for the concise, sarcastic, exchange between the characters. Love, love, love it!
And Jake pulls this off so well. I've read/heard/seen this story many, many times, but how Jake reads this scene is just, well, hysterical.
I only hope we get to hear more from Jake. This has been, by far, my most fav book in years.
Enchanting story told well.
Gyllenhaal's performance is enthralling. It draws you in. He changes his voice for each character, and doesn't sound ridiculous as the female characters. Fantastic!
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
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.
I have much enjoyed Gyllenhaal's film performances and he's certainly someone I keep an eye on for movies I would enjoy. That being said I think he was sadly miscast as the Nick Caraway narrator. Gyllenhaal just isn't a period piece sort of guy. He's modern in every way, voice, inflection, tone, accent, and just not believable as a young man of the post-WWI era. Caraway is educated, sophisticated, knowledgeable. He may not have the ready wealth of the crowd he runs with, but he's certainly not out of place or uncomfortable in such "elevated" surroundings. He recognizes the trappings of large amounts of money as exactly that--trappings. It's the people and their characters which preoccupy him, not their stuff. The rube in the palace, in spite of his wealth and experience, is Gatsby himself. His money and its purchasing power is far too new for him to be taking it for granted. And this childlike enjoyment and appreciation is part of Gatsby's charm for Nick. Gyllenhaal's most successful characterization is Tom Buchanon, the boorish, foolish, philandering husband of Nick's cousin Daisy. Fitzgerald paints him in broad strokes, not quite a parody of the ex-jock, he's too destructive, too powerful to laugh at, but Tom is the modern one that Gyllenhaal "gets."
Fitzgerald's "voice" is easily recognizable and distinct from other early 20th century writers. Great Gatsby fans would love his other novels and short stories. He's poetic, but never obscure and sometimes humorous. An easy read with intense themes.
Gyllenhaal is not a natural narrator, but he has a pleasant baritone and would probably improve if he continues in this work. The first chapter contained two stand-out mistakes in pronounciation: the word claret mispronounced as "klar-ay," rather than "klar-it," and the word settee mispronounced as "set-tay," rather than "sett-ee." Neither word is of French derivation, which I am assuming was Gyllenhaal's assumption. (Both words come from English and have a standard English pronounciation.) It's not so surprising that a young American actor doesn't have these words in his lexicon. What is surprising is that no one on the production/direction side of this recording caught the mistakes. Doesn't anyone "literary" audit these recordings before they're released? Now there's a plan.
In spite of my issues with this recording, I did not feel my money wasted. I got it at a very good price. Fans of Jake Gyllenhaal of the he-can't-put-a-foot-wrong stripe will love this.
The audio quality of this recording is very, very good.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Like most people I read this book in High School but did not remember much of it. Fitzgerald's ability to set a scene, his descriptive passages, the command of word choices is unparalleled. The core of the book is the elaborate infatuation Jay Gatsby has for Daisy Buchanan. The broader context of the setting is the irreconcilable nature of the American dream in the 1920's that gives the novel it's ability to capture the essence of an era. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job narrating the story. It is easy to see why this book is considered a classic of American literature. Glad I decided to re-read the story.
I would change the decade that this book was written. As much as I try, it's hard for me to enjoy such old American literature. I guess I need a class for context so I can enjoy it. TOO LATE.
I have not. And I probably won't. If I didn't care for this, I don't think I'd like anything else.
Despite the content, he has a lovely voice. Not my most favorite voice, but he read well and made it at least a little bit compelling.
Yes, it made me listen to it as fast as possible so I could listen to something else.
Not much except context makes everything better. I'll live without it though.
I was so excited to listen to this classic. But, I was very disappointed. I know it seems like a great SELLING move to market an audiobook with a screen actor- screen actors have ONE character, not seven.... or more. And, honestly, A talented actor/actress should stick with acting. Just because you are a talented actor/actress DOES NOT equal that you are a master at audiobook narration.
Now, if I just wanted to hear Jake Gyllenhaal read a book to me, this would have worked out...... probably would have cost me much more than this audiobook, however!!