I love this book and I usually re-read it every summer so it was the perfect time to do so again. Sharing Gatsby’s shattered dream is compulsive. But what makes this book great is not Gatsby himself but Nick Carraway. Like Dr Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories, Nick, the narrator does not judge, at least not until the very end. He records the events of that one tragic summer with honesty and his lack of intervention allows the reader to make their own assumptions about Gatsby and also about Daisy and Tom.
The Buchanans are superficial, driven by money, greed and glamour and are, as we are often reminded, symbols of their age. Gatsby is one dimensional, relentlessly pursuing a lost cause, although his childlike quest to rewrite his past exempts him from our scorn. In some ways, however, the lesser characters are the most interesting. Jordan, although just as false as her friends in many ways, has a more interesting flaw; she cannot bear to be seen at a disadvantage and will lie her way out of any such situation. Nick is originally infatuated with her and his gradual realisation of her dishonesty is mirrored by the way his eyes are opened to the duplicity of Daisy and Tom. But perhaps it is Wilson, the garage owner, and his wife who are the real tragic characters. Denied the glamour of the jazz age, they still pay the price for its excesses.