good morning !!
Your impressionable hoddler-in-chief finished reading Reading Lolita in Tehran on Monday (truly a great piece of literature). In that book, the author discusses each chapter within the context of an author (like Jane Austen) or a novel, like The Great Gatsby or Lolita (by Vladimir Nabokov).
Here’s the thing - F Scott Fitzgerald is my favourite author. But I haven’t read Gatsby in years.
After reading the book, and reading how she believes we should interpret fiction, I became steadfast in my resolve to reread Gatsby. Not through the eyes of a teenager who pored through the compulsory pages, but as a well-read adult (lol) who truly enjoys Fitzgerald.
After work today I resolved to pick up Gatsby again. But I don’t have Gatsby. My old book is lost somewhere. So I had to go to the bookstore.
I went to Capitol Hill Books, walked up the stairs to the second floor and immediately searched for Fitzgerald. Only my eyes first saw Henry James, another author mentioned by Nafisi. I held a copy of Daisy Miller in my hands before moving on to “F”.
And there he was: Fitzgerald. And Gatsby. There were so many copies to choose from. Most of them had children’s writings scrawled inside. I picked the one that seemed to be the least vandalized.
I held Daisy Miller and Gatsby in my hand. Do I read a book I’ve never read before, who was studied so scrupulously? Or the quintissential American novel from my favourite author?
It’s probably silly to buy another book anyhow. I told you all I was determined to finish The Charterhouse of Parma. And I still need to read books I’ve purchased recently: Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv (London), another Murakami (Colorado) and Raymond Chandler (DC). There’s probably a few more on my bookshelf that need my attention.
The thing about Gatsby is, it isn’t my favourite Fitzgerald novel. That would probably go to This Side of Paradise or Tender is the Night.
But I enjyoed Gatsby when I read it before. I wonder, though, whether my comprehension of it was limited by the worksheets through which I had to study it.
There are so many layers to Gatsby. Yes, of course, we have the American Dream and the Green Light that so many focus on. But we also have authenticity, relationships, love and integrity. I think, more than any other author, Fitzgerald understood personal conflict and a person’s self destruction.
All these great, universal themes that interact with one another and eventually result in Jay Gatsby lying dead in his pool.
I want to know more about this book. I want to know how I, an American, can interpret these universal themes compared to how someone like Nafisi did.
So, confident in my selection, I walked down the stairs and I handed the clerk my choice.
I walked out of the store with Nabokov.
Fitzie’s track of the day: Coming Home, by Leon Bridges
And now for your links:
Ange Postecoglou’s former club eliminated from European cup competition
David Squires’ latest cartoon on Terry Venables