Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power.
Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great - and utterly unusual - So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic", and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender.
With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own.
"Immensely likable, eclectic, and dynamic, Corrigan is as adept in her analysis of life as she is in her fresh and significant interpretations of books." (Booklist)
"Maureen Corrigan has produced a minor miracle: a book about The Great Gatsby that stands up to Gatsby itself." (Michael Cunningham)
"Corrigan's eclectic taste and skillful assessment of new writers as well as those long dead are particularly astute." - (USA Today)
"Corrigan is erudite without being the least bit pretentious... Dipping into Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading is a little like visiting that friend whose house is always full of books and who always sends you home with one you're excited to read." (Detroit Free-Press)
"Maureen Corrigan's brilliant Gatsby book takes you on a revealing expedition into the wilds of American literary culture. It might be called How Gatsby became "Great". An intoxicating cocktail of talent, celebrity, gangster noir, and the vicissitudes of reputation that create a classic." (Ron Rosenbaum, author of The Shakespeare Wars)
"So We Read On is a fine book on many levels, almost too many to list. This book is a love story about a book. It's an expression of love for one of the most lyrical and engaging and prescient novels in the English language. Maureen Corrigan writes not only with passion about her subject, she writes with an understanding of America and the elusive goal represented by the green light on Daisy's dock." (James Lee Burke)
"A brilliant and funny narrative of [Corrigan's] own reading life . . . Utterly original." (Chicago Tribune)
"With her infectious enthusiasm, no one is better at bringing a book to life than Maureen Corrigan. Her vividly personal evocation of Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby is at once a labor of love, the story of a quest, and a mother lode of information and insight. As a biography of a novel, it reads like a novel." (Morris Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden and Dancing in the Dark)
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Literary criticism for everyone
- Seth H. Wilson
Interseting and engaging
I loved the insights the author had on The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald. Also I enjoyed the personal connections she shares.
I found this to be a good book to work to, like house work or home improvement project or a road trip.
I would love this book to be given to everyone who says they don't understand what the draw is to Gatsby. She does a great job of getting to the heart of the matter.
- LaurieLW "“I don't want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald"