Saturday, September 07, 2013

Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby

It all started with ‘The Great Gatsby’, yup I am admitting it, it was the movie…

Living in Twin Cities, it’s tough to escape the name ‘Fitzgerald’ and so I was familiar with the name and had snapped pictures of the mural and the theater while walking the streets of downtown St. Paul but never took any academic interest in his work before the hoopla about the remake of ‘The Great Gatsby’ started.

Vidya Balan wearing sabyasachi for Great Gatsby at Cannes 

Several things happened simultaneously to peak my interest, my friend who was going to attend a Gatsby themed wedding in southern France asked me to help her with her dress and accessories; one of my favorite Indian designers ‘Sabyasachi’ had a beautiful display of sari collection at the Cannes Film Festival and I loved the ensemble for the Gatsby themed reception; my husband informed me one of the famous Indian actor was playing a small role in the new Gatsby movie and if all that wasn't all, my book club chose to read the book ‘The Great Gatsby’.

Another of my Sabyasachi Favorite
I loved the book and the favorite part about the whole narrative was that it provided a vast array of nodes with enough insight into the characters and hidden symbolism, and a lot of unknowns for imagination in fill in. I think it bothers some folks that it wasn’t straight forward but I on the other hand liked the gaps and could possibly see readers contemplate at the various state of life they are at.

The inner thoughts of Gatsby or Daisy or Jordan were never revealed only their actions; and there was certain thrill in contemplating the thoughts behind their actions. It is open to interpretations and even the same person might find different insights into same wordings depending upon the situation. One of our book club member’s daughters read this book as a part of her curriculum and it was interesting listening to the academic interpretations of the book as well.

DH and I after a late night show of the Great Gatsby
The 1974 movie “The great Gatsby” tried too hard to stay within the bounds of the book, they even kept some of the same dialogue as the book but still failed to capture the essence of it all and same with the 2013 version, it was fashionable and catchy music but the movie comes across as melancholy whereas the book goes beyond the pain and liberates the spirit in certain ways. I really liked Redford in the Gatsby role; there is an unmatched gravity in his personality.

At the end of the ‘The Great Gatsby’ book was a series of correspondence between Fitzgerald and his agent and publishers and it was very interesting to hear about his own thoughts about how folks would respond to his work especially in light of the after sight and the fact that his novel is now considered a classic…


  1. I have never read it.
    I need to add it to my list!
    And Mike and I both want to see the movie together. Hopefully soon.
    But it sounds as if the book is better!

  2. That’s a well-written post Shalini. What do you feel about the 2013 Gatsby though? Part of the reason I never saw the 70s film and the more recent one was because Gatsby is among my favorite works of fiction. Any thing that does not match up to its genius, worse still mar it somehow would be a personal insult. Like Vidya's tacky attempt at looking like an exotic being with her rdupatta on her head ;)

    look forward to reading more of your blog now..

  3. Mary Jo, Read the book before you see the movie. Movie would give away the story without much depth and that would taint your thoughts when you read the book. Look forward to your thoughts on it :-)

  4. Chandan,
    Thanks for stopping by the blog. I agree about the dupatta detail, she tried too hard to be conservative which is not the portrait of the real Indian woman. As far as the 2013 movie is concern, I'd say skip it if you liked the book. Watch the still from the movie if you are really curious, music is good though :-)but not necessarily tied to the scenes.