The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1926)

I’ve read this several times. Gets me every time.

Dang, the man could write. No mean feat, given his marshmallows were well toasted most of the time.

To give a sound a colour without blinking like the ‘orchestra… playing yellow cocktail music’ is pretty, pretty cool. And he’s right – it is yellow. I can hear it drifting across the lawn down to the water’s edge. Eat your heart out, Kandinsky.

Can you smell the talc in this?

Daisy watched him and laughed, her sweet, exciting laugh; a tiny gust of powder rose from her bosom into the air.

I can. I also see pale pink and alabaster.

And then, whoosh! Away from the colourful jazz and clean breasts and down to earth with a sigh on how things really are elsewhere for the others, the masses of less fortunate. For those not protected by prosperity.

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.


…I tossed half-sick between grotesque reality and savage, frightening dreams.

Fitzgerald lifts you up and lifts you up some more – and then drops you.

She had caught a cold, and it made her voice huskier and more charming than ever, and Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor.

Well, there you go. We all might as well pocket our pens and stop trying. Ah, the pointlessness of hot struggles.

And then there’s that last paragraph, if you haven’t topped yourself already.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

That futility again.

Thanks for being here.

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