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Audie Award Finalist, Classic, 2013
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.
After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy’s life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters’ fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.
This special audio edition joins the upcoming film - as well as many other movie, radio, theater, and even video-game adaptations - as a fitting tribute to the cultural significance of Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic, widely regarded as one of the greatest stories ever told.
©1925 Charles Scribner's Sons. Copyright renewed 1953 by Frances Scott Fitzgerald Lanahan (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I am a ravenous reader. I consume books (audio, electronic, and paper) by the pound and byte. I RARELY go back and reread a novel I've read before. It just seems a waste of time, a waste of an opportunity for another book, another story. The Great Gatsby, however, is one of those handful of books, those rare literary jewels, where this rule of thumb is consistently bent and re-broken. For readers of good literature, this novel is like scripture. IT is something you read to enjoy the page, the paragraphs, the sentences, the words. It draws you back. It haunts future books you read. It invades you.
For American Literature, The Great Gatsby stands with 'Moby-Dick' and 'Huckleberry Finn' as a monument of not just literature but the uniquely American experience. It captures the excess, the energy, and the decadence of the 'Lost Generation'. Other Fitzgerald books are amazing, but Gatsby is one of those novels that seems to have surprised everyone, even Fitzgerald.
Finding the right narrator for any book is an art form (often misunderstood, almost always ignored). Certain books require a certain type of reader. Gyllenhaal was an inspired pick for the Great Gatsby. He has the range to subtly capture the different characters, but the charisma and the energy to embody the dialogue of Gatsby and the easygoing narrator Nick.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Fitzgerald's classic written in simple prose tells the story of the upper crust's frivolity from the point of view of an outsider looking in. You relive the pretense, wastefulness, desire to fit in and aching loneliness lurking within all.
Gyllenhaal embodies Nick so well, you see him as the mild wallflower character instead of the handsome, charming actor. Well read.
For $5 and 2.5 hours of time (on 2X speed) this is a great way to revisit a classic or prep for the movie.
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
I more or less enjoyed reading Gatsby back in high school. Reading it now as an adult, it’s easy to see why the book is considered such a classic. It’s a critique of the American Dream – that you can become whatever you want to be. It’s a story of the disenfranchised taking a shot, and being put down for it. It has a memorable cast of characters – most of them loathsome (Tom Buchanan most of all – he’s a raging knot of contradictions, and a great foil for Gatsby). There’s some intense social commentary – part of what we loathe so much about Tom is his classism and racism. The former I think has probably been easy for Americans to loathe for a long time; the latter is easy for us to loathe today, but keep in mind this book was written in the 20s, a good 40 years before the Civil Rights movement. (You go, Fitzgerald!) Also, and this is emphasized in the audio format – it’s a very short, economic book, and at under 5 hours, packs a pretty mean punch.
Some things that I didn’t appreciate so much as a 14 or 17 year-old which I found fascinating as an adult: that the whole story is set during Prohibition, and what a bizarre and broken era that was. There was so much booze flowing, so much partying, so much philandering…it’s ridiculous to me that the United States thought it would be moral to outlaw alcohol. I was also surprised by how funny it was when it wasn’t such a downer – particularly at Gatsby’s parties. There’s a scene where we find a man sitting in the library of Gatsby’s house and the stranger says: “I’ve been drunk for about a week now and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library.” That line just tickles me in so many ways, and I enjoyed discovering Fitzgerald’s sense of humor this time out.
Jake Gyllenhaal gives a very solid narration as Nick Carraway, our portal into Gatsby’s world, who proclaims he’s “the only honest man he’s ever met.” Gyllenhaal’s performance isn’t a flashy one, and I think that’s a wise choice on his part – it matches the understated power of the book, and let’s Fitzgerald’s prose carry the story. He’s received a lot of praise for his reading of this novel, and it’s well-deserved.
The Great Gatsby continues to be a serious book with a lot on it’s mind, and was a treat to revisit.
(Originally published at the AudioBookaneers)
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
It's possible that the greatest common factor among audible listeners (besides that we all love books) is this statement: "I think we had to read that in high school...and I didn't like it." Seems like there are the *under-threat* readers of The Great Gatsby, and the ones that named the first pet they owned as an adult Daisy or Gatsby. With my basset hound Zeb looking on, I did finally read this as an adult, then made room on that shelf next to Huck Finn, Hester Prynne, Tom Joad, Ahab, Atticus (and Poe's Raven).
You couldn't have a Gatsby today because so much of our response to literature is based on our bias, beliefs, knowledge, and experience. Or at least not without an understanding of the incredible and tumultuous time in history, the Jazz Age, that Gatsby occupied. [Today--Jimmy Gatz would buy his status/identity--get a stylist and a promoter; instagram photos with celebs at his lavish parties, pay for celebrity buddies, show off his crib and million $ cars on TV, engineer the release of a sex tape, get a reality show, and finally win his love's heart with a 10 carat engagement ring. Daisy, famous for nothing, would be tripping over her 6 1/2" red-soled heels to get to him; she would then have a very public dirty divorce from Tom that would play out in all of the celebrity gossip rags-including plenty of selfies and pictures of his numerous mistresses, then maybe onto a stint on DWTS. When Gatsby finally realizes that Daisy is as shallow as the pool he is floating in, and--*of course you CAN'T repeat the past*--he would drown his crumbling dreams in booze, alcohol, and reckless behaviors, thumb his nose at the legal system, lose his money and fans, go through rehab several times...]
At today's pace, Gatsby would just be The Really Really Good Gatsby; the story would seem minimally inventive and somewhat trivial. But Gatsby in Fitzgerald's masterly hands is timeless.
If, from your previous HS experience, you doubt that this is one of the greatest American novels, you may be surprised by the broader insightfulness you've earned since those days. Fitzgerald lived both sides of the generation he judged. Like the very best authors, his stories pour out from his mind with an honesty and authenticity that shine with a superior genius, tempered with absolute artistic control of their craft. This is one of the few books that has defined my reading experience.
The narration is such a big factor with this version. I doubt there is anyone that could have given a more inspired reading than Gyllenhaal; he was amazing not only when he was in character, but he impressed me so much with his reading of the body of the story, as if he felt a reverence for Fitzgerald's words.
"That's the whole burden of this novel--the loss of those illusions that give such color to the world so that you don't care whether things are true or false as long as they partake of the magical glory." - - F.S. Fitzgerald on The Great Gatsby
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.
This would be rated in the middle, however the narration makes all the difference in the world.
Great Gatsby is a classic no one can say anything about the story
Jake Gyllenhaal as a narrator is excellent and I will look for his narrations in other books in the future because of the excellence and the variations when necessary. Love the narration Jake want more!!!!!!!!!!
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
The Great Gatsby, one of the most frequently read books in our culture, has been given wonderful new life through the superb narration of Jake Gyllenhaal. Here is the American classic, giving a vivid insight into one of the most Intriguing eras of our history, the "Roaring Twenties." Fitzgerald's story of the shift in morals and mindset describes the short decade in which flappers, gin, new money and maybe even gangsters illustrated a certain freedom, and definitely a now-stereotyped image of the boom times following WWI.
Nick Carroway, a young man from the Midwest who has settled in the east, tells the story from his vantage point, that of someone drawn into the tumultuous times by the accident of being related to Daisy Buchanan. Daisy is unhappily married to Tom, but the object of such devotion to Jay Gatsby, who dated her in an earlier time but cannot let go of her memory, that he has reinvented himself as a wealthy man in the hope of someday reconnecting with Daisy. Among other things, this book tells the story of what happens when dreams change to cold reality. Because Jay and Daisy do find each other, through Nick Carroway. But only tragedy ensues, which is really the bulk of the entire amazing book.
There is so much one can say about this novel, from the standpoint of symbols and motifs (such as the famous old billboard with the eyeglasses of TJ Eckleburg, who may represent the fading society that is passing, or maybe the eye of God looking down upon an increasingly godless society), or the story of tragic romance, or, as a prescient commentary on that passionate era.
Although most of us read this in school at some point, it is now interesting to revisit it in the aftermath of the great "Dot.com" era, which was followed by an economic downturn, just as the Great Depression succeeded the "Roaring Twenties". I found myself thinking that this is truly a book for our times in many ways, almost a true reminder that history does repeat. If somehow anyone out there missed reading this book as a literature assignment, or even if you have read it dozens of times, you will find Gyllenhaal's narration of it a rare treat! Highly recommend!
I'm an Audible editor, and I think this quote sums it up: "A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character." - Daniel Day-Lewis
I knew I always liked The Great Gatsby, but having not read it since high school, I couldn’t remember exactly why. After listening to Jake Gyllenhaal’s superb narration, I was reminded of what I found so great about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic. Gyllenhaal strikes the right chord as Nick Carraway, who exists within the hyper-privileged world of Long Island’s upper crust but manages to avoid becoming jaded and swept up by the materialism of his cousin, Daisy, and the titular Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s elegant yet simple prose still holds up, and Gyllenhaal treats it with the utmost respect, allowing the vivid descriptions of mansions, landmarks, and 1920s New York to flow at just the right pace. While ultimately tragic, The Great Gatsby is full of light and beautiful moments that kindle nostalgia for the Roaring Twenties, and I was glad to have been reintroduced to a favorite book this way.
Fast, blinding, tragic.
This is a classic. It presents a glaring portrait into the period, love and a man.
Jake Gyllenhaal's performance was nothing short of perfect. It's ironic, I have never been a huge admirer of his acting but having heard him perform Gatsby I don't think any other reader would ever do for me from here on out. I believe another reviewer indicated sometimes you find the perfect narrator for a given novel. Gyllenhaal is definitely that for Gatsby.
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!
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