Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” opens this Friday. In anticipation, Kathryn Schulz re-read the novel twice in 2013. She argues in New York magazine that the book many consider the Great American Novel is, actually, not so great.
It is an impressive accomplishment. And yet, apart from the restrained, intelligent, beautifully constructed opening pages and a few stray passages thereafter — a melancholy twilight walk in Manhattan; some billowing curtains settling into place at the closing of a drawing-room door — Gatsby as a literary creation leaves me cold. Like one of those manicured European parks patrolled on all sides by officious gendarmes, it is pleasant to look at, but you will not find any people inside.
Read her whole argument — and the many comments from readers — here.