"The Great Gatsby" is all the rage, with the opening on Friday of a new film version of the novel. The book has been described as "The Great American Novel," but not everyone agrees.
New York magazine writer Kathryn Schulz recently observed that "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."
In a conversation with Kerri Miller on Wednesday, she repeated the observation about what "Gatsby" does to her personal temperature, and also said the novel is:
• "Aesthetically not all it's cracked up to be." • "Profoundly morally muddled." • Lacking in logic.
"You would think that in the United States in 2013 we would look a little bit askance at people who make their fortune, as Gatsby does, by manipulating the entire American financial system," she told Miller. "But within the moral logic of this book, we're supposed to absolve him of all of that and in fact admire him because he pursued his financial gains in the name of his undying love for Daisy.
"Even if you can follow that sort of ends-justifies-the-means logic, there's a problem for me. Which is that that relationship is profoundly unconvincing. And this is the one flaw that even Fitzgerald acknowledged about the book. He himself never understood, in his own words, what was going on between Gatsby and Daisy."