“The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Audio book narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal
A few weeks ago I was motivated to buy some books on sale from audible.com.au. The incentive was a $20 voucher which I managed to forget to use before it expired. Sigh. One of the bargains to be had was The Great Gatsby, one of the very few books I have read many times.
This particular edition was attractive because of the narrator. There are two main reasons for this. First, I have found well-known narrators to be reliably impressive. Second, as I have previously blogged, first-person novels being narrated are extra lovely.
On the off chance that you are not already familiar with The Great Gatsby, it is the story of an enigmatic man, Jay Gatsby, told to us by his neighbour, Nick Carraway. In essence, it is a story of decadence. Of the frivolity of the rich. Of a summer where nothing much happens and everything changes.
I first read this book as a pre-teen, or perhaps only just a teen. It captured my imagination because it was a world so far removed from my reality. The idea of parties on the lawn and an endless summer and love lost… perfect fodder for an overly romantic girl.
Since then I have found comfort in reading it perhaps once every five years or so. I might not have bothered again except that it is now on the HSC Prescriptions list, set for study in Advanced Module A in Comparative Study of Texts, Elective 2: Intertextual Perspectives. It is set as a text to be studied beside a collection of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnets. Sonnet 43 is the most famous of these and there is a very obvious link between the tone of consuming love in the sonnets and Jay Gatsby’s obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan.
I enjoyed listening to Gyllenhaal narrate and it was lovely to listen to a story I knew well. Maybe one day I might even consider teaching what has been described as ‘the great American novel’.