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gatsbyThe Great Gatsby tells the love story of the rich Jay Gatsby and the childish, wealthy Daisy Buchannan. Set in the Jazz Age following World War One, it chronicles the attitudes of the new arising society. After five years, Gatsby finds the chance of accomplishing his dream: winning back his old lover Daisy, with the aid of the new outsider, Nick Carraway, who comes to Long Island to sell bonds but becomes deeply involved in the story. Gatsby is disappointed in the end after discovering that the notion that Daisy deeply loves him was untrue.

I think that Nick Carrway’s point of view was a very good way of describing the new period after World War One because it showed the attitudes of its people from another detailed perspective.

 

“That fellow had it coming to him. He through dust into our eyes just like he did in Daisy’s, but he was a tough one”.

Tom Buchannan says this after he and Daisy confront Nick for the last time; but more importantly, after the shooting of Jay Gatsby. After vainly trying to convince him otherwise, Nick loses hope of making them understand the truth. Tom doesn’t seem to know that it was Daisy who recklessly killed Myrtle, the wife of George Wilson the garage owner, with whom Tom was having an affair. Daisy, who knows that she killed Myrtle, doesn’t tell Tom the truth and follows along. In my opinion, knowing the truth wouldn’t have changed anything on the behalf of Tom. Although he doesn’t know the truth, he doesn’t want to know. He is content with living luxuriously and care-free in his ignorance.

When Gatsby becomes rich, he turns into a material man. Before the war, Daisy leaves him for the wealthy Tom Buchannan. The past five years, during which he turned himself into a millionaire, he has been thinking of fulfilling his dream of getting Daisy back, with the dreamy notion that she still loves him and had been faithful to him all those past years, like he had been. In the movie and in the book, his confusion is shown in this moment:

“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby. “I love you now—isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.” She began to sob helplessly. “I did love him once—but I loved you too.”

Gatsby’s eyes opened and closed.

“You loved me TOO?” he repeated.

“…It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”

This is still relevant today. Tom and Daisy both have narcissist attitudes, and when they are engulfed in their own depressed worlds, they care not what they do around them, and they have no guilt over their doings.

The 1974 movie a good companion to the book. To me, it focused more on the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. Mia Farrow performed an excellent portrayal of Daisy Buchannan. I didn’t think that she overacted. She visually showed Daisy’s character as it was. Robert Redford also very-well depicted the “cool” and mysterious character of Gatsby. However, some silent moments in the play seemed like gaps to me, they were awkward.

The people of the Jazz Age, as Fitzgerald depicted them, were fascinating:

“I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby’s house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited, they went there. They got into automobiles which bore them out to Long Island and somehow they ended up at Gatsby’s door. Sometimes they came and went without having met Gatsby at all, came for the party with a simplicity of heart that was its own ticket of admission.”

After not even having Gatsby (but some “acquaintances” of his) and even enjoying themselves at his great mansion, they accuse him of being a German spy and of killing somebody. This shows the immorality and vicious gossip in the 1920s.

I find Gatsby’s situation sad because he has always genuinely loved Daisy, perhaps something rare in that period, but he thought he could win her back and please her through material and his great house. Gatsby was so determined in achieving his dream that he thought he could repeat the past (“Why of course you can!”) He reminds me of Florentino Ariz, in Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, who waits fifty-one years, nine months, and four days for his lover’s husband to die. The difference is that Florentino achieves his dream, proving the power of enduring love and patience, unlike Gatsby, who has been patient also. Florentino did not attempt to change himself or his status; but Gatsby thought he could win back Daisy through the wrong way; millions and materialistic luxury.

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Memories of my Melancholy Whores is an interesting narrative by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It still contained Marquez’s dry wit and humor. I liked the way the main character’s misery, loneliness  and agony was depicted:

“…I’m ugly, shy, and anachronistic…”

Marquez’s characters are very complex, and he has a way of of giving you more insight on them by showing you their everyday, usually repetitive but detailed, habits. After reading this book, I came to the conclusion that Marquez has a fluent talent of wrapping up his stories, specifically his novellas. I felt that Memories of my Melancholy Whores was very well structured. The book was an easy read, despite the main characters pain and agony. This story was not captivating or exciting, but a relaxing, slow novella which shouldn’t be underestimated. I think that Marquez shows his high literary skills and abilities in this comic and artful book (not to forget the title).

This is “The First New Novel in Ten Years from the Author of ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE”, but I think that Marquez has more to offer.

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In Marquez’s detailed 2003 memoir, Living to tell the Tale, he recounts the details of his life as a struggling writer and journalist, until the day he proposed to his wife. The book begins when the author’s mother, after several years, visits her poverty-stricken son to ask him to accompany her back to his hometown, Aracataca, to sell his grandmother’s house. She also tries to convince him to fulfill his father’s wish by going to law school and earning a degree in law. In his memoir Marquez recounts not only the people but also the writer and poets who shaped his life as an author. His dry wit was inspired by his grandfather, with whom he shared a close friendship. His novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, were based on the events of his parent’s life. Marquez blends his elements of wit from One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera into this masterful autobiography, where he explains his various struggles as a journalist against the backdrop the events in Colombia, such as the War of a Thousand Days.

Unfortunately I have read a couple of other books while reading this book, which I have finished quite some time ago, so I don’t have a fresh memory of what is inside it (that won’t happen next time).

my rating: 10/10 – a masterful book and a gem for Marquez fans

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Gabriel García Márquez: A LifeI have just discovered that a biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez by Gerald Martin is going to be released in May 2009. The book is called Gabriel García Márquez: A Life. The book consists of 672 pages and it is the first biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ll certainly buy this book once it comes out because I’m interested to know how Marquez is portrayed by a point of view, other than himself.

view the book at amazon

read the book review

book cover from amazon

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I’d like to mention that today is the Columbian Nobel laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s birthday!

He is my favorite writer! I have read four of his books.

By the way: he is now 82 years old!

read my book reviews:

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Love in the Time of Cholera

memorable moments from Love in the Time of Cholera

 

a website about Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Here I’d like to share with you some memorable parts I came across from Love in the Time of Cholera (Garcia Marquez) which I’ll always treasure:

It was fortunate that after so much governmental instability because of so many superimposed civil wars, academic standards were less selective that they had been, and there was a jumble of backgrounds and social positions in the public schools. Half-grown children would come to class from the barricades, smelling of gunpowder, wearing the insignias and uniforms of rebel officers captured at gunpoint in inconclusive battles, and carrying their regulation weapons in full view at their waists. They shot each other over disagreements in the play-grounds, they threatened the teachers if they received low grades on examinations, and one of them, a third-year student at La Salle Academy and a retired colonel in the militia, shot and killed Brother Juan Eremita, Prefect of the Community, because he said in catechism class that God was a full-fledged member of the Conservative Party.

 

After dinner, at five o’clock, the crew distributed folding canvas cots to the passengers, and each person opened his bed wherever he could find room, arranged it with the bedclothes from his petate, and set the mosquito netting over that. Those with hammocks hung them in the salon, and those who had nothing slept on the tablecloths that were not changed more than twice during the trip.

 

If anything vexed her, it was the perpetual chain of daily meals.
For they not only had to be served on time: they had to be perfect, and they had to be just what he wanted to eat, without his having to be asked. If she ever did ask, in one innumerable useless ceremonies of their domestic ritual, he would not even look up from the newspaper and he would reply: "Anything." In his amiable way he was telling the truth, because one could not imagine a less despotic husband. But when it was time to eat, it could not be anything, but just what he wanted, and with no defects: the meat should not taste of meat, and the fish should not taste of fish, and the pork should not taste of mange, and the chicken should not taste of feathers.

 

She would walk through the kitchen at any hour, whenever she was hungry, and put her fork in the pots and eat a little of everything without placing anything on a plate, standing in front of the stove, talking to the serving women, who were the only ones with whom she felt comfortable, the ones she got along with best.

Read my review of Love in the Time of Cholera

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Buy the book at Amazon


After impatiently reading the last pages, I’ve finally finished Love in the Time of Cholera.

The story begins with the accidental death of Dr. Juvenal Urbino, the husband of a woman named Fermina Daza.
Read my review of One Hundred Years of Solitude, by the same author.

 

Then it switches back to the past, when Fermina is a young teenage girl who keenly falls in love with Florentino Ariza, a telegraph boy, and soon their correspondence with each other through letters becomes an obsession.

But when Fermina Daza unexpectedly marries the prestigious and wealth doctor, Juvenal Urbino, Florentino is devastated, but has a strong will to wait for the death of the doctor.

After fifty-one years, nine months, and four days of patience and long-suffering for Florentino, Dr Juvenal Urbino is finally dead. Florentino and Fermina are now in their seventies. Will Florentino be able to win back Fermina’s heart again?

Right from the first page to the last, I’ve been absorbed into Marquez’s captivating world of love, devotion and wit.

Not only does he make you eager to know what will happen to the two lovers in the end, but he will lure you into his magical world of brilliant, unique imagination.

Through his humane stories and characters, Gabriel Garcia Marquez again proves to be a master storyteller.

I’ve read three books of his now, and I think he’s the most talented and powerful writer ever.
I am sure you will treasure this book as much as I have.

I am also looking forward to watching the 2007 movie adaptation

of Love in the Time of Cholera.

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