The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding-cake of a ceiling, and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.
The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young woman ballooned slowly to the floor.
commentary: I’ve been thinking about The Great Gatsby in relation to the 2015 book Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy – on the blog recently.
There have been a couple of entries on the original book – I chose it for the 100th blogpost, and did another post after seeing a stage production which consisted of reading, and also acting, the entire text of the book. It has long been one of my favourite books – which is why I was initially suspicious of the new book, though I totally was won over by Gorsky and rate it very highly.
Fitzgerald’s book is amazingly short but packed full with a very dense plot. If you haven’t read it for a while, you have to think hard to work out the series of events that decide Gatsby’s fate. (The modern book has a similar complex pattern).
And whenever I read it I come across amazing phrases, conversations, images and similes that I don’t recall. The passage above, however, has long been a favourite. I wanted to feature it on the blog earlier, and loved this picture (which is by the photography pioneer Adolf de Meyer) but worried that the women were not both sitting, and they were outside, and there was no couch. But these days I am much more freewheeling with my choice of pictures, having realized that I make the rules.
Daisy is about to say ‘I’m p-paralysed with happiness.’
Gatsby locks in also with with Pushkin and Eugene Onegin, on the blog last week.