I’m on a bit of a quest. There are countless classic books, particularly modern classics, that I aspire to read but simply haven’t gotten around to. Same old story really. So before I went off on holiday I bought a bbc dramatisation of The Great Gatsby audio book.
When most people start to describe this book they launch into a stream of words like glittering, decadents, and plush. Which would be correct given that the main protagonist is a wildly rich with new money, and trying to pursue a girl wildly rich with old money. Yet I also feel those words can give the impression on something superficial and flimsy, a bit of a tittle tattle book, with exuberantly hairdooed people lounging about on Chaise lounges exchanging gossip, perhaps talking about muslin. But lets just look at this quote;
“Some time toward midnight Tom Buchanan and Mrs. Wilson stood face to face discussing, in impassioned voices, whether Mrs. Wilson had any right to mention Daisy’s name.
“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai –– ”
Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand. “
A flowery period drama this is not! In fact, I find it much darker than it is given credit for. But all wrapped up in a superb gold chocolate wrapper of gorgeous language and description.
Speaking of gold, colour symbolism comes up rather allot, gold hats representing riches and, in a moment where Gatsby is staring longingly across the bay at a green light, green representing hope, (a rather obvious nod as who the heck has green lights winking about the place? Maybe it’s a 1920’s thing). In fact Fitzgerald crams symbolism into the book like a two year old eating Hula-hoop’s, the eyes of a sort of consumerist God looking down on the characters from an advertising billboard also features as a nice little layer. And I have to say I like all that, it gives it repeatability.
The recording itself is very good, with a nice selection of voices all pitching in with appropriate gusto. Andrew Scott is the only name familiar to me, as seen in the somewhat polarising portrayal of Moriaty in Sherlock, here he plays Gatsby with all the correct haunted mystery in the voice. I can’t really comment on the ascents as an English person, but from where I’m sitting they sounded pretty good.
Here is the link if you want to buy it off amazon;http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Great-Gatsby-BBC-Audiobooks/dp/1445847469/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1349191237&sr=8-2
Though I think you can download it for a little less on itunes.