This is my second read of The Great Gadsby. I know a lot of individuals who started to read this book and did not care for it. I tend to think that this novel is a very mature work and many youthful persons do not enjoy it. My own experience reflects this. I was somewhat lukewarm about this book the first time I read it. However I decided to study Mr. Fitzgerald and his works. I have now read Mr. Fitzgerald's other finished novels in chronological order and then, finally reread The Great Gadby. It was a lot of effort as I cannot say I really enjoyed the other novels. However, the experience really added to my appreciation of The Great Gadsby. I reread this novel, once again, after all of that study. I feel strongly this is Mr. Fitzgerald's masterpiece. There are some who feel "Tender Is The Night" is the author's greatest work. I respectfully disagree.
The Great Gadsby is a lot shorter than Tender Is The Night. I do not necessarily struggle with longer novels. However, there is a certain economy of words, with great beauty, that exists in The Great Gadsby. I found Tender Is The Night to be essentially a much lengthier, European rework of The Great Gadsby. Dick Diver is the charismatic figure that everyone immediately cares about. Mr. Fitzgerald's style did not seem to evolve in the latter work and by the end, I was just ready for the book to be over with. I feel that The Great Gadsby has the distilled greatness of all of the other novels of this author without the moments of mediocrity. But I needed to read those works to appreciate that.
In The Great Gadsby, there is reference to the green light at the end of The Buchanans's pier that is now considered highly symbolic and an iconic reference. In the author's previous novel "The Beautiful and The Damned" there is a late night walk to a railway station wherein the author seems, to me at least, to point out a red light atop of the station. Does this presage the iconic green light? I am an un-credentialed reader and my opinion may be unqualified. I am also very interested in the fact that The Great Gadsby did not become an iconic novel until after the author's death, years later. I do agree that the book is a masterpiece, but how did that evaluation elude the critics and readers for all of those years, and what changed that? I think it is ironic in that Mr. Fitzgerald seemed to have at least a very normal ambition for greatness and his greatest work was only acknowledged after his death. There is something to be said about a literary work of art that endures the passage time.