I'm assuming this book is considered a classic. I don't read the classics that often, so I wouldn't know. But anyway, I've heard of this one all my life, and watched part of the movie a couple times, I think. The other day, it so happened I was in the mood for literary fiction, and already having an armchair historian's interest in the 1920s, I waded in.

Story-wise, I didn't quite know what to expect. Turns out, the plot is an age-old standard about a poor boy's devotion to a privileged girl. Thrown into the mix is a rags-to-riches theme, a couple intersecting love triangles, the futility of material ambitions, the disease of wealth and much analytical fodder for human anthropologists.

Gatsby is great, as I see it, only in his heroic determination in conquering the world (well, financially conquering a significant piece of it, anyway) to win the heart of the narrator's cousin, Daisy. Daisy is one of those girls who is fun and bubbly at casual social events, held at arm's distance. Under her attractive surface, however, is a shallow, vapid conformist hardly worth the efforts Gatsby has labored at to ascend to her snobby caste. Daisy's hypocritical two-timing blowhard husband is even less likable. Though Gatsby has amassed his wealth by extra-legal means, he was by far the most sympathetic character for me, even without the poignant destiny.

I don't know if this was considered light reading in 1925, but today Fitzgerald's prose would befuddle all but the most literate. Not to say he meanders into introspective tedium as James Jones did 30 years later. Fitzgerald reminds me of Victorian-era authors who spent considerable time spelling out their observations of subtle human nuances/intuiting/speculating about the cognitive patterns they translated to. It's actually enjoyable, and didn't tax my 21st Century attention span too often. It was obvious, however, that F. Scott's favorite word was "vitality."

There is a murder, of sorts, in this novel, but the mystery that makes it worthwhile is the title character.

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Comment by Lyn LeJeune on January 17, 2012 at 10:06am

“The war party began: They came in gray tailored frocks with braided edges and striped trousers and wearing soft hats, oxfords in deep black leather that shined.“ 


The mysticism and religious fanaticism of the 1920’s or the Dust Bowl era has had a profound impact on the arts. Popular TV shows like HBO’s Carnivale have brought this strange time period into the mainstream. These were years marked by war, a global depression, racial hostility, and a collective search for salvation. In author Lyn LeJeune’s new book, Elijah Rising (inGroup Press, October 2011), a man’s descent into madness begins as the world goes to war. Disillusioned with his boring life in New York City, a wealthy white heir to a railroad fortune follows a black tent-fundamentalist preacher out west. Their goal is to bring God to those uncivilized and uncharted parts of America. But as they venture deeper into the unknown, it is they who may most require the grace of God. Elijah Rising is a love story filled with captivating descriptive writing, profound characters, and a learned sense of history. LeJeune has written timeless, high-end fiction for even the most discerning tastes.

***Note from author: Howard Zinn – greatly missed – was one of my first readers.  He wrote this to me:  “I read it in two sittings, became involved in the story. You write every well!”  Now who wouldn’t have pursued the book to publication? It is now published by InGroup Press.


ISBN: 978-1935725084 http://www.amazon.com/Elijah-Rising-Lyn-LeJeune/dp/1935725084/ref=s...

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