Monday, 2 July 2012

Gatsby again: the man in the pink suit

the book:

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

published 1926  chapters 7& 8



[Tom Buchanan has been investigating Gatsby]
“An Oxford man!” He was incredulous. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.”

“Nevertheless he’s an Oxford man.”

“Oxford, New Mexico,” snorted Tom contemptuously, “or something like that.”

“Listen, Tom. If you’re such a snob, why did you invite him to lunch?” demanded Jordan crossly.

“Daisy invited him; she knew him before we were married — God knows where!”...

[Later that day, after everything has gone wrong, the narrator sees Gatsby as he watches out for Daisy]

I hadn’t gone twenty yards when I heard my name and Gatsby stepped from between two bushes into the path. I must have felt pretty weird by that time, because I could think of nothing except the luminosity of his pink suit under the moon.

“What are you doing?” I inquired.

“Just standing here, old sport.”...

[The next day, Nick has just shouted a farewell to Gatsby] His gorgeous pink rag of a suit made a bright spot of color against the white steps, and I thought of the night when I first came to his ancestral home, three months before. The lawn and drive had been crowded with the faces of those who guessed at his corruption — and he had stood on those steps, concealing his incorruptible dream, as he waved them good-by.


observations:  Right now in London you can see Gatz, the NY transfer in which the whole of this novel, every word, is read out on stage – with a narrator and others acting it out using props from the setting, which is a rather dismal office. It is amazingly well done, and very slick, and reminds you yet again what a wonderful novel this is. Will other books now get this treatment, and would it actually suit them? It does make you think about the nature of adaptations, and how nice it is not to be missing your favourite bits.

The pink suit is a good touch for poor sad Gatsby. Even now it is quite difficult to find a photo of such an outfit…

Random thoughts: 1) there are two apparently quite different minor characters called Lucille in the book 2) it is very funny, something very much highlighted by Gatz 3) at one point Fitzgerald says that Gatsby ‘smiled like a weather man’ but it’s hard to think what a smiling ‘weather man’ was in 1926.

Links up with: Gatsby and his shirts gave us our 100th entry. Pink is important in an outfit
here.

The picture is the cover of a book by Roger Silverwood, one of his series of detective novels.

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