This is one of the best letters I’ve ever read about writing. Not surprisingly, it comes from my favorite writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The letter, which comes from the book F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life In Letters via brainpickings, is written from Fitzgerald to Frances Turnbull, a family friend, who sent F. Scott a short story for review.
To be such a short novel, I had a lot to write about The Great Gatsby.
It is my favorite novel, after all. Though I finished it about a month ago, the holiday break and giveaway and year in review posts kept me from giving it a worthy recap post.
So, like I did with Infinite Jest, I thought I’d highlight all of the posts I made about The Great Gatsby at the end of last year. Maybe you missed one and would like to take a look.
Here they be:
This review seems pointless.
I think everything that can be said about The Great Gatsby has already been said. So I’m not reinventing the wheel here, not that I ever do during any of my reviews (I use the term “reviews” loosely).
Having read this novel many times, you’d think I could write pages and pages about The Great Gatsby—and I guess that’s what I’ve done over the last few weeks—but, still, trying to sum up the amazingness, fabulousness, splenderificness of this novel in a short review is difficult.
So I’ll start with this:
If Fitzgerald’s prose is like butter, then The Great Gatsby is like bathing in a giant vat of delicious, theater popcorn.
I’ve read this novel multiple times, and I’m always struck by how I never grow tired of reading it. Every single passage lives and breathes and just jumps of the page. Fitzgerald wrote with such a purpose.
With my review coming on Monday, I thought I’d share some of my favorite passages and quotes from The Great Gatsby today.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m drawing out The Great Gatsby experience. It doesn’t take me this long to read a 200-page book, but there’s so much to share about this novel that I had to linger on it for a while.
This novel is so jam-packed with buttery-smooth writing that it makes you want to eat it. Yes, physically eat the book. Okay, not quite. But almost.
Anyway, here’s one of the passages that jumped out at me. Gatsby is taking Daisy—who is visiting his mansion for the first time—on a tour through the house with Nick.
If you need a laugh on a Monday morning, this might do the trick.
Or, if you’ve never got around to reading The Great Gatsby–shame on you, by the way–and you want to get a feel for what it’s about, this will do the trick as well. Maybe.
Funny little two-minute video called Gatsby In A Nutshell. You’ll notice below that embedding is disabled. Simply click on the YouTube link to watch it.
A novel like The Great Gatsby, which is nearly 90 years old and is one of the most successful novels of all time, inevitably will have dozens of covers over the years.
I love looking back at all of the different interpretations of the novel through cover design. You might remember, we’ve looked at covers before with The Sound and the Fury and Neuromancer and The Grapes of Wrath.
I dug through the interwebs looking for legitimate covers of the novel, but keep in mind that a lot of people like to make their own redesigns. Just for kicks, I guess. I believe I’ve filtered out all of those, but one or two might have sneaked in. So what’s Gatsby’s cover looked like over the years?
This comes from the publisher’s afterword in my edition of The Great Gatsby.
Awesome insight into Fitzgerald’s thought process behind naming the novel:
If I told you I bought a house across the lake from yours so I could stand on my rooftop and gaze longingly into the direction of your general location, would you love me?
If I told you I bought that massive house, complete with service staff and more amenities than a warehouse full of amenities, solely for the purpose of impressing you—if you even remember who I am—would you love me?
If I told you I threw lavish multi-million dollar parties every week at said massive house solely in the hopes that you would, one day, show up, would you love me?
Here’s what I love about Fitzgerald. Right when you open The Great Gatsby, you get a sense that this is a different book.
What do I mean?
I’m talking about the epigraph. Now, usually, authors will quote another famous author, philosopher, or someone like that in the epigraph.
But not Fitzgerald. He quotes himself. See, if you didn’t know (and I actually didn’t know this until college), the epigraph in Gatsby is fake.