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The Great Gatsby  By  cover art

The Great Gatsby

By: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Narrated by: Jake Gyllenhaal
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Editorial review


By Madeline Anthony, Audible Editor

HOW THE GREAT GATSBY BECAME THE QUINTESSENTIAL JAZZ AGE NOVEL

If you ever find yourself pondering the correlation between the greatness of a work and it’s commercial success (or lack there of), and whether or not the first has anything to do with the latter, here’s a case study to wrap your mind around—F. Scott Fitzgerald died thinking that his third novel, The Great Gatsby, was a dismal failure and that his body of work would soon be forgotten.

While the novel sold only 20,000 copies during Fitzgerald’s lifetime, The Great Gatsby stood the test of time and is now widely considered Great American Novel canon. Largely seen as a literary masterpiece, the novel has made its way into high school and college curriculum as required reading, inspired multiple critically acclaimed films, and set the stage for creative spin-offs set in the world of Gatsby (such as Daisy, a reimagined take on the novel from the perspective of Daisy Buchanan herself), and has generally inserted itself into American vernacular.

There are other authors and novels with similar stories; for instance, Moby Dick was a critical and commercial flop until it finally gained popularity 30 years after author Herman Melville passed. Sometimes an author is ahead of his or her time, and sometimes chance works in mysterious ways. In Fitzgerald’s case, copies of Gatsby were handed out freely to soldiers during World War II. The renewed interest in the book breathed new life into it, and from that moment on, Gatsby soared.

Today, the nostalgia conjured by the Roaring 20s is in a kind of renaissance. Or maybe, the truth is that a sort of longing for the romanticism of this era never really died. In lower Manhattan, guests can venture into The Gatsby Experience for instance, which is an interactive theatre of sorts equipped with a speakeasy tour and live performance. The Great Gatsby, a new musical, is running off-Broadway, and a general appreciation of not only the classic novel but also the time in which the novel was set is alive and well. Don’t we all want to live in a time where the champagne flows, and life, for a brief moment at least, seemed easy?

Continue reading Madeline's review >

Publisher's summary

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 recent 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.

Critic reviews

"Combining a deeply loved classic like The Great Gatsby with a well-known Hollywood voice like Jake Gyllenhaal’s could create magic or disaster. Could there be competition between the two? Which side would come out stronger? This production strikes a graceful balance, with both big names blending to complement each other. Gyllenhaal’s reserved tone lends polish to Fitzgerald’s text, accentuating the mood of poetry that pervades the novel. His delivery is simultaneously youthful and experienced, aware of the subtleties of the characters and the plot nuances as he infuses them with life. Gyllenhaal controls his performance with style and careful pacing, seemingly keeping as reverent an eye on the novel as Gatsby himself kept on that elusive green light." (AudioFile magazine)

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