Standing on the Accademia Bridge in Venice on a hot, humid evening early this summer, I found myself drawn to a party in the side garden of a palace across the Grand Canal. From my heights, I found myself a silent witness to the joys of the garden party unfolding before me.
A group of men in black tie formal suits stood together in groups, gulps drinking, laughing, clinking glasses, and all the masculinity that defines the gilded life of a rich man.
Meanwhile, as music wafted from the open palace doors, couples strolled in the shade of the garden, yellow roses pouring from the ancient wall overhead, while other women held wine glasses , all naked. Shoulders and low necklines, chat lively together, and greet every newcomer like long-lost friends.
As I stood there, almost like a voyeur, watching the scene unfold, Venice suddenly slipped past me and I found myself teleported to another place and another time. To New York, to Long Island Sound, to the fictional town of West Egg, and straight into the beautiful gardens of Jay Gatsby’s mansion. Jingle champagne glasses, twinkling fairy lights, beaded skirt, man in white flannel; what a beautiful and perfect, loving and loyal image of the party revelers on a warm summer night a century ago what.
Of course, this is a false image, because there is little real beauty in Gatsby’s world, so behind the mirage, it is the superficiality and meaninglessness of this fleeting world that triggers the destruction of so many lives. Jay Gatsby is one of them.
This summer marks the centenary of the F Scott Fitzgerald classic, the great gatsby. Yet, despite the passing of decades, the essence of Gatsby still resonates.
In fact, it never lost its relevance, so it still stands, a slender masterpiece that dares us to ignore it’s about excess, about betrayal, about so-called celebrity, about false friendships, about the poverty of wealth, and about once again Again and again to reach something we will never be able to grasp. And, ultimately, also managed to turn the harshest spotlight on the human condition of loneliness.
In the depths of the savage beauty of Fitzgerald’s third novel, in its portrayal of the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age, we witness a post-World War I nation crumbling and a disoriented society. As the shiny layers of varnish are slowly but surely peeled off, it reveals an up-close and personal picture of the corruption of the American Dream, a dream that squanders itself in the rush of those who find it chasing wealth at the hands of the market. In fact, what we are seeing is the story of our own time, like a mirror reflecting the years of our Celtic Tiger, the continued manifestation of celebrity culture, and the eternal sublimation of many of the most vain aspects of society. .
Yet… “In his blue garden, men and girls come and go like moths among whispers, champagne and stars…”
Welcome to the Pleasuredome, the glitz and glamour of a Gatsby Garden Party on a warm summer night on Long Island in 1922. Whether it’s superficial or not, let’s be honest, who of us wouldn’t want to go there? Even though it’s summer 2022 and don’t want to be on the party’s guest list chez Gatsby, or Chez his 21st century doppelganger?
The world Fitzgerald presents to us is a complex one. It’s a paradoxical field inhabited by sometimes repulsive and attractive people. As in the past, and so now – we find ourselves attracted and repelled by ostentation of wealth and privilege, by those who seem to be the same thing but are actually quite different.
Sarah Churchwell, Author The Careless Man: Murder, Chaos, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby, Captures the novel’s paradox: “It’s a celebration of indulgence and a denunciation of its destructiveness. It’s about trying to recapture our fleeting pleasures, the ephemeral nature of pleasures. It’s a tribute to possibility , but also an elegy for disappointment.
“In this book, imagined glory collides with real-life grimness, and the hard facts of power and economics collide with the mythical promises of fantasy and ideology.”
As such, it’s the quintessential summer read; this book perfectly captures the fragile and fleeting magic of summer. It’s partly Fitzgerald’s work, but it also rests on the emotional core of the book: summer never lasts, it promises but rarely delivers, it ends, and we’re stuck in the quagmire of winter. Gatsby’s trajectory does all the same things.
Gatsby’s hopes were matched by his disappointments. His dream supported him until it abandoned him. Gatsby, more than any other book captures the impossible appeal. All of Churchwell’s observations are as relevant to today’s society as they were to the piracy era in America in the 1920s.
At the heart of F Scott Fitzgerald’s best novel is Jay Gatsby’s obsession with winning back his young love, Daisy Fay, who is now married to rich schmuck Tom Buchanan. In pursuit of the desires of his heart, Gatsby created an illusory life while amassing enormous fortunes through fair means and dirty (mostly dirty) ones.
One of his ambitions is to Daisy again. However this will never happen because Gatsby can’t leave his past behind. Therefore, he will never be able to grasp what is always and always within his reach.
Gatsby tried too hard to put his trust and faith in a woman who was a “beautiful, careless, selfish little fool”. He can’t see it, but we see it all too clearly. We knew from the beginning that heaven has been completely lost and will never come back.
A hundred years ago, the lights went out in Jay Gatsby’s West Egg mansion. He “paid too much for living too long for a dream”. Dreams, like Gatsby, eventually turned to dust.
It’s a cautionary tale that still casts a long shadow. A century later, with all the glitz and glamour of Long Island Sound, the great gatsby Still warn us that it’s not gold that glitters, wealth can be cheap, and self-deception is ultimately destructive. It reminds us that we need to be careful—very careful—of what we want.