Audie Award Finalist, Classic, 2014
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.
I was pretty excited when I saw this release. I hadn't read The Great Gatsby before, but I was aware of the soon to be released movie. I am a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor and I was curious about how his first audiobook narration would go.
To be honest, the listening was very dissapointing. From the very beginning I noticed how Gyllenhaal was merely whispering his way through the book. At first I thought this was needed to keep a nostalgic mood for the novel introduction, but the pace, tone and volume kept exactly the same till the end.
I even wondered wether Jake was trying very hard to sound what, sexy? Except that didn't work when he had to switch between different characters. When dialog occured, I had a very hard time distinguishing what character was supposed to be talking, the voice-acting being so plain. Only Tom and Gatsby sounded distinct (if not cued by hearing "oldsport" at the end of every Gatsby's line). Appart from them, even male and female characters were undistinguishable from each other, for they all had the same dull, muted voice of Nick, the narrator.
Also, there's lack of emotion everywhere. Not even lines like "oh my god" (hint: near the end) sound convincing enough to me. When characters are supposed to be really angry, Jake makes them sound like presenting their arguments as-a-matter-of-fact-ly. Several times I found myself mentally repeating the lines with my own expression added to it, in order to try and enjoy the novel a bit more.
Unfortunately, there's something else to add. There are several occasions in which listeners will notice audio editing, (i.e. cut and paste voice clips in the right place), like when the narrator does a mistake during recording and has to do a second take, but resumes from few words behind (presumably after a comma) instead of reading again the whole parragraph. You can tell where's the cut because of the change in Gyllenhaal's breath or the apparent variation in distance to mic (different envelope or openness sound).
As for the story... I didn't like it. But I can't tell to what extent the negative experience was due to the narration performance. It could simply be a different writing style than I was expecting, though. As I stated before, I didn't know the story before.
Bottom line: I don't recommend this audiobook. I sincerely hope Gyllenhaal gets better at narrating if he seeks this path.
I was reluctant to listen to a book read by a screen actor, and one I don't particularly love. I thought the creators would be selling the name rather than a gifted reader. I was wrong. Not only did Jake Gyllenhall read the story well, he did so in an almost whispered style that I think captured the book's subtlety in supreme manor. I can highly recommend this audiobook.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I apologise if you've read my previous review of the William Hope production, but what follows is essentially the same down to the Performance. Skip to there is you've read the other review.
What can I say? It is one of the best known plots of modern times. It is regarded as a modern American classic, alongside "Grapes of Wrath", Huck Finn's Adventures and Scout's wondering at her father's integrity. But for me, it has always been missing something. I know it's about soulless people for whom, what it looks like is more important than what it is. So of course it is missing something. That's the point! But still, there's something I can't put my finger on that separates this from the true "Greats".
I just read Melinda's review (which I always read with interest). She gets it, but I don't. For me Fitzgerald has so successfully dismissed these glitzy cut-out figures, that I have no empathy for any of them, not even Dan. That leaves me this: awed by the language, but not so hot about the story. And, isn't it all about the story? Anyway, who am I to criticise the book. It can't have been too bad because I listened to two versions of it over a day!
Overall, I think my prejudice is not a good guide. I love the language, but I could easily never read this again. I wouldn't say the same for Wrath, Mockingbird or Finn, and certainly I will read Of Mice and Men again, hopefully many times.
I listened to this version of the tale second. I started with the William Hope version, then saw the Jake Gyllenhaal one advertised. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying Hope's performance, because I listened to both from "cover to cover". However, maybe because I was looking for something more, I thought I would listen to this production, too, It had the redeeming feature of being an hour shorter, but I can't work out why that is. Certainly Gyllenhaal didn't read too quickly. To the contrary, I found his easy pace much more endearing that Hope's dramatisation, although I found Hope's characterisation better, overall. Also, I was driven to the hard copy with Gyllenhaal's telling because he punctuated it where he wanted to, not where the text does. On some occasions this changed the meaning of the language. I liked both versions and I can recommend both, but if forced to choose, I would opt for the more accurate reading (ie, Hope's) because I thing the language, including the punctuation, is the best of this book.
If you are in for a treat give yourself 4 hours of delightful entertaining.
Gatsby's sad but scintillating story is told by Fitzgerald perfect prose, with Gyllenhaal wonderful reading.
Whether you - like me - read it long ago and want to reread it now, or for the first time approach it, maybe because the movie brought it back under the spotlight, do not miss it.
The story failed to draw me in. Maybe it was too short, or maybe it was simply too uninteresting, or maybe it's the dull reading.
Having the book narrated by a screen actor was not a good idea. It wasn't terrible, but neither was it good. For such a short book they could have picked some really good professional narrator instead.
I have just started with the audiobooks, but surely this work is going up to the top of the list, together with Chesterton's Orthodoxy.
Nick Carraway, the novel’s narrator. Why? In his own words, he is tolerant, open-minded, quiet, and a good listener, and, as a result, others tend to talk to him and tell him their secrets.
Oh the voice, the perfect interpretation of Nick Carraway, along with other main characters.
No particular moment, but the whole decadent downside of the American dream atmosphere.
Audible, please keep the audiobooks prices down so I get to listen to many more!
Oh, I also love the whispersync idea. Hope there will be more sync'ed titles!
Addicted to Audible.
Love lust life
Loved the Great Gatsby. He was fabulous and strong. He was assertive and passionate about how he got to where he was.
I tried "Tender is the night" but I found it was a bit of a letdown: "The great Gatsby" good, "Tender is the night" bad...
Mr. Gyllenhaal however, who I like as an actor, I deeply dislike as a reader - you see, I had the luck to hear this book read by Robertson Dean (which is no more, sadly - the version, I mean), and it brought out all the greatness in Mr. Fitzgerald's work, with a deep and slow reading, whereas Mr. Gyllenhaal's performance sounded to me a bit monotone. In short - I'll see your movies, Jake, but I won't ever hear your readings...
On screen, definitely. On audio - never!
Detached curiosity about the lives of the wealthy and glamorous. Made me a bit sad that the main character - but no, I'll refrain myself from publishing spoilers...
I know there are a few others of quality, but what about bringing back Robertson Dean's performance of "The great Gatsby"?
Excellent Descriptive Writing
Mr J Gatsby was by far my favorite! He came from such a poor family and transformed himself into this great man all for the love of one woman! WOW!
Jake brings his own style to the book with his different "voices" and the way he reads is enchanting!
Sort of...the ending is very shocking and the way it unfolds kind of takes you by surprise.
Jake Gyllenhaal really brings this wonderful story to life. I've listened to a few audiobooks of this story, and they've always failed to engage me. This one, however, really succeeds, with Gyllenhaal breathing a charm and old-world sensibility into Fitzgerald's words. His Gatsby voice sounds very much like DiCaprio's, which lends itself well to the tie-in with the 2013 movie.
From the opening line until the end, I was spirited away to the world of Gatsby and Daisy.
It was beautifully read and with the voice that seemed to be intended for the book.
Even if you have seen the film(I hadn't) It is a must.
"Could be a better investment than the movie"
This is a beautifully written and narrated examination of superficiality and materialism and in America in the interwar years. It highlights the desire for money and things, drawing attention to the emptiness that can accompany the unconstrained search for more and more. The powerful symbols of Gatsby's house and the eyes of Dr T J Eckleberg, reveal the dominance of commercialism and the hollowness of the continuous search for wealth and recognition. When things go wrong it all collapses in a heap and there's barely a relationship that survives Gatsby's violent end.
Great story, beautifully written, well narrated, and probably more deeply evocative than the multi-million dollar movie. Maybe money can't buy it all, after all?!
"Great classic story, but dreary narration"
Sadly, it seems my take on the narration for this book, is somewhat different to the opinions of others...
I like Jake Gyllenhaal's acting, but his vocals in this story, didn't capture me at all. In fact, his monotone voice with lack of excitement, left me missing various important parts of the story as my mind wandered for something less dreary.
Great story, but I'm glad I had a re-wind button to re-listen to the bits I drifted off to...
"A charming story about love and obsession."
Jake Gyllenhaal makes a good performance, but not a great one. He does, however, give a pleasant spin to the story with his very own take.
"Gyllenhaal is perfect"
This classic American novel needs no review from me to sell it but if you are going to buy the book in audio format surely there is no better narrator than Jake Gyllenhaal, who is the ideal choice to voice Nick Carraway. I highly recommend this version.
It was and I did - while sitting in the garden on a dreamy summer Sunday. Perfect.
"Definitely worth a listen!"
“If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life…. an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again."
Such beautiful prose... I studied The Great Gatsby in school but have long since forgotten the story. But with this refresher I find I appreciate the story a whole lot more than I did as a teenager - I suppose its mainly because I hadn't encountered people like in the story as a teenager but with time that changed and with it my perception. But even if the story doesn't speak to you, the words and phases are so wonderful that it's an enjoyable read anyway.
Also an additional positive is that Jake Gyllenhaal is the narrator, and he's brilliant at it!
"Really enjoyable book"
Sometimes I stop and wonder what makes a classic so "classic" but within a couple of minutes it was obvious why this book remains so popular. It really is beautifully written, with the lazy excesses of the characters so artfully described you feel every nuance of how Fitzgerald loves to hate each of them, and the hazy weight of the summer is palpable throughout.
For those who don't know the story, a list of memorable moments would be an awful spoiled. Sufice to say there are many memorable moments.
Gyllenhaal is a perfect narrator of this story and truly brings the text to vibrant life. this is one of the best audiobook readings I've listened to. Brilliant reading and acting, wonderful pace and pitch. 10/10
"Best novel of the twentieth century"
Probably the best, the prose sparkles and the plot is spare and perfectly framed
The narrator, he is at once reflective and sensitive, aware of his own faults but capable of emotion and loyalty
One gets a clearer delineation of the characters by listening to their different voices, tonalities and inflections as read by him
Voted by me one of the best if not the best novel of the twentieth century. The music of the prose suggests the jazz era
I have now read this book twice, seen the first movie once and most enjoyed of all experiences the audible version. Fabulous.
"1st time ever... the film was better than the book"
If you're a lover of classics then maybe this would appeal to you more than me. Its story line is nothing new: a normal love story with a heartbreaking end. For me it seemed rather underdeveloped, more like a short story or the first draft of a far longer novel.
Probably the most interesting aspect was watching how the narrator's perspective and opinions changed throughout the book despite the whole plot being written from hindsight.
As the book was relatively short, I cannot complain that it wasn't worth the listening time. However, I feel I got more from the far shorter film.
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