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Great Gatsby: Analysis and Adaptations


It’s the Roaring 20’s! To commemorate the time, both then and now, Homewood Public Library has scheduled several programs focused on two of the most prominent figures in the 1920’s, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Be sure to register for such programs like our 1920’s Murder Mystery on August 16th where you can join us for a live roaring ’20s murder mystery party game for adults. The roaring twenties murder mystery party game is set at the height of prohibition in a 1920s speakeasy. This ’20s murder mystery party game contains loads of blackmail, deceit, intertwining relationships and murder – all packaged in a fun flapper & gangster themed murder mystery party! Wear a costume and immerse yourself in the era! Food, fun, and murder all in one evening! Or, check out our other special Fitzgerald events throughout the month!

We’ve also curated a list honoring one of Fitzgerald’s most notable works. Check out these books analyzing, adapting, and illustrating The Great Gatsby!


Analyses

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby

Tracing the genesis of a masterpiece, a Fitzgerald scholar follows the novelist as he begins work on The Great Gatsby.   The autumn of 1922 found F. Scott Fitzgerald at the height of his fame, days from turning twenty-six years old, and returning to New York for the publication of his fourth book, Tales of the Jazz Age. A spokesman for America’s carefree younger generation, Fitzgerald found a home in the glamorous and reckless streets of New York. Here, in the final incredible months of 1922, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald drank and quarreled and partied amid financial scandals, literary milestones, car crashes, and celebrity disgraces.

Yet the Fitzgeralds’ triumphant return to New York coincided with another event: the discovery of a brutal double murder in nearby New Jersey, a crime made all the more horrible by the farce of a police investigation—which failed to accomplish anything beyond generating enormous publicity for the newfound celebrity participants. Proclaimed the “crime of the decade” even as its proceedings dragged on for years, the Mills-Hall murder has been wholly forgotten today. But the enormous impact of this bizarre crime can still be felt in The Great Gatsby, a novel Fitzgerald began planning that autumn of 1922 and whose plot he ultimately set within that fateful year.

Careless People is a unique literary investigation: a gripping double narrative that combines a forensic search for clues to an unsolved crime and a quest for the roots of America’s best loved novel. Overturning much of the received wisdom of the period, Careless People blends biography and history with lost newspaper accounts, letters, and newly discovered archival materials. With great wit and insight, acclaimed scholar of American literature Sarah Churchwell reconstructs the events of that pivotal autumn, revealing in the process new ways of thinking about Fitzgerald’s masterpiece.

Interweaving the biographical story of the Fitzgeralds with the unfolding investigation into the murder of Hall and Mills, Careless People is a thrilling combination of literary history and murder mystery, a mesmerizing journey into the dark heart of Jazz Age America.

So We Read On: How the Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why it Endures

It’s a staple on almost every high school reading list in the country. It’s a book that has remained current for over half a century, fighting off critics and changing tastes in fiction. But do even its biggest fans know all there is to appreciate about The Great Gatsby?

Maureen Corrigan, the book critic for “Fresh Air” and a Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out that while Gatsby may be the novel most Americans have read, it’s also the ones most of us read too soon — when we were “too young, too defensive emotionally, too ignorant about the life-deforming powers of regret” to really understand all that Fitzgerald was saying (“it’s not the green light, stupid, it’s Gatsby’s reaching for it,” as she puts it). No matter when or how recently you’ve read the novel, Corrigan offers a fresh perspective on what makes it so enduringly relevant and powerful. Drawing on her experience as a reader, lecturer, and critic, her book will be a rousing consideration of Gatsby: not just its literary achievements, but also its path to “classic” (its initial lukewarm reception has been a form of cold comfort to struggling novelists for decades), its under-acknowledged debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its commentaries on race, class, and gender.

With rigor, wit, and an evangelistic persuasiveness, Corrigan will leave readers inspired to grab their old paperback copies of Gatsby and re-experience this great novel in an entirely new light.

Adaptations

Beautiful Little Fools

USA Today bestselling author Jillian Cantor reimagines and expands on the literary classic The Great Gatsby in this atmospheric historical novel with echoes of Big Little Lies, told in three women’s alternating voices.

On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby.

Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire.

Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby—before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan.

Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well.

Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.

Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, when all three of their lives are on the brink of unraveling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.

Jillian Cantor revisits the glittering Jazz Age world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, retelling this timeless American classic from the women’s perspective. Beautiful Little Fools is a quintessential tale of money and power, marriage and friendship, love and desire, and ultimately the murder of a man tormented by the past and driven by a destructive longing that can never be fulfilled.

The Chosen and the Beautiful

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Nick

Critically acclaimed novelist Michael Farris Smith pulls Nick Carraway out of the shadows and into the spotlight in this fascinating look into his life before Gatsby.

Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s periphery, he was at the center of a very different story—one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I.

Floundering in the wake of the destruction he witnessed firsthand, Nick delays his return home, hoping to escape the questions he cannot answer about the horrors of war. Instead, he embarks on a transcontinental redemptive journey that takes him from a whirlwind Paris romance—doomed from the very beginning—to the dizzying frenzy of New Orleans, rife with its own flavor of debauchery and violence.

An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know but few have pondered deeply. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to paralyze even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.

The Great Gatsby: a Graphic Novel Adaptation

A sumptuously illustrated adaptation casts the powerful imagery of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel in a vivid new format.

From the green light across the bay to the billboard with spectacled eyes, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 American masterpiece roars to life in Katharine Woodman-Maynard’s exquisite graphic novel–among the first adaptations of the book in this genre. Painted in lush watercolors, the inventive interpretation emphasizes both the extravagance and mystery of the characters, as well as the fluidity of Nick Carraway’s unreliable narration. Excerpts from the original text wend through the illustrations, and imagery and metaphors are taken to literal, and often whimsical, extremes, such as when a beautiful partygoer blooms into an orchid and Daisy Buchanan pushes Gatsby across the sky on a cloud.

This faithful yet modern adaptation will appeal to fans with deep knowledge of the classic, while the graphic novel format makes it an ideal teaching tool to engage students. With its timeless critique of class, power, and obsession, The Great Gatsby Graphic Novel captures the energy of an era and the enduring resonance of one of the world’s most beloved books.

Coming Soon:

Jay the Great

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY was first published, capturing the spirit of a decadent generation. Now nearly a century later, Benjamin Frost has delivered a modern retelling of the classic novel, one which honors the structure and scenery of the original, while shining a new light on its characters and themes.

Dominick is a college freshman with a simple goal: to be seen as a bona fide scholar. He’s just arrived in Boston as a transfer student, having left the Midwest to pursue an East Coast education. Over the course of one fateful semester, he finds himself trapped in a thick web of drama.

At the center sits his cousin, the vibrant Lily, on the cusp of graduation but suffering through a toxic relationship. Her other half is Todd, a mansplaining jock with no shortage of secrets and no patience to keep them.

Soon Dominick’s attention turns to his upstairs neighbor, an enigmatic figure named Jayda, who is renowned as a scientific genius but may be closer to a con-woman. Her chemical parties are the talk of campus, all thanks to an optical invention that promises something bold: to change how you see the world.

Underneath layers of wealth and mystique, Jayda is a lonely soul consumed by a dream. She’s blinded by the past, convinced it holds the key to her only chance at happiness. But when secrets come out and her love for Lily is revealed, the future spells disaster on a tragic scale.

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