Write your abstract here.The years go by, and quickly; the Jazz Age and its great chronicler, Fitzgerald, are no longer within viable human memory. Only the exceedingly elderly can possibly recall the period, and the rest of us must conjure it as best we can.So it's all the more ironic that Fitzgerald himself offers little help in our seeing and feeling what those tumultuous years were actually like. Maybe he had a hand in the age. Maybe he did indeed help mold the Flapper girls, as he later regretted having done. Yet he was, above all, a fabulist. Scott Fitzgerald had dreams, and he never got very far past them. This was the curse in most of his work, the sad boundary of his small font of genius. Quite simply, he loved the excess of his dreams - and the brief, real explosions in his life they made - too well to strive for the fabulous in life as it is lived, or to even record it as it happened.Fortunately, this disability gave us a few gems, too. One is his brilliant story, 'Babylon Revisited', salvaged from the ugly end. In truth, in scope, in heart, it is the male parallel to Dorothy Parker's 'Big Blonde'. Both writers produced a good deal of tripe, and both writers created one pure and lasting short tale.The other is 'Gatsby', and I don't think it's an accident that 'Gatsby' works better than any other Fitzgerald novel because of its brevity.
And it is a fairy tale, too, albeit one with a grim ending. As Nick - sympathetic, wise, dazzled, kind - narrates the story, he is both spellbinder and spellbound. The doomed Jay Gatsby's passion for Daisy is always rather inexplicable; she is presented to us as a selfish, shrill girl. But Jay himself lives, and this is an extraordinary achievement. He lives because Fitzgerald takes the most common affliction (a relentless desire for something unworthy) and inserts it as an engine in the hero. He is grand, he does grand things, he has preposterous money, and all because Daisy once spurned his love. That, in a word, is it. Even his destruction pales beside this single facet of his gorgeous being.The novella has seen life too many times as a film, chiefly because it is mistaken as a love story. It is not a love story. It is a loss story, and a painful examination of what happens when early loss is never accepted. 'Gatsby' is flawed, yes. But it has sweep, it has genuine characters within it, and, above all, it has the power of a writer who had no choice but to be true to the story.