Thursday, June 24, 2010
9:15 AM. Gatsby is still a terrific book. It seems to me, though, that Gatsby’s life and success – if it may be called a success, anyway his life that he built – reflect Fitzgerald’s naïve romanticism quite as much as Gatsby’s. It takes a romantic to dream up something like that. In a way, it’s Hemingway in his immature period of trying to be published in the Saturday Evening Post, only complete with a devastatingly effective style. For the first time maybe I see Hemingway’s meaning in saying that Fitzgerald had all that talent but hadn’t done the observation necessary to portray something true. It’s a terrific book, but it’s a boy’s story like Treasure Island, only transposed into material that wouldn’t have been suitable to, or acceptable to, boys. It is a boy’s idea of how the wicked world functions. Only – boys don’t commonly assume that wickedness prospers – or even could prosper, and they don’t factor in stupidity in human affairs. Time gives them these factors.