The Great Gatsby is probably number 1 on many author’s lists of work that gave them inspiration, especially as it was recently made into a great film directed by one of my favourite film directors, Baz Luhrmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I have to admit, I, like most, found The Great Gatsby because of that film having only really heard about. Shocking for someone trying to be an author, I know.
So what from The Great Gatsby influenced my novel?
‘I have been drunk just twice in my life.’ Chapter 2 (c2).
Gatsby has its fair share of drunken revelry; from the title character’s wild parties to the afternoon of drinking Nick Carraway has (where the quote above features). And it is not just any body, but the young and idle. It is those that seem to have all the time in the world who get to have all the fun with liquour, ‘the bottle of whiskey – a second one – was now in constant demand by all present’ c2. And that was a theme I used when writing Faces of a Small City.
‘”It’s about the butler’s nose. Do you want to hear about the butler’s nose?”‘ (c1)
It is fair to say the conversation had by some of the main characters is unexciting and “gossipy” in Gatsby, something I love. It reflects the unimportance and boredom in their lives, something I tried to relate to the youth in my novel. The main characters in Faces sit around staring aimlessly at the television while having ineffectual conversations about articles read in the local paper.
‘”Gatsby?” demanded Daisy. “What Gatsby?”‘ (c1)
Finally, the thing I mainly love about The Great Gatsby is the build up and mystery of the main character, Jay Gatsby. Something I learnt whilst at university was, ‘if you’re going to steal, steal from the best’, and I took the way the main character’s entrance is built up and applied it the entrance of my main character James. ‘It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life,’ (c3), the way Jay Gatsby is introduced is memorable and passionate. It makes you fall in love with that character instantly, and that is why I love The Great Gatsby.
What a great novel, a novel I could only dream of writing, it is so good. In no way am I suggesting Faces of a Small City is any where near as good as Gatsby but I wish to recognise my literary influences because in this day and age it is absolutely impossible to be original. We are in a post-postmodern age, and we must celebrate that, lest we forget what came before.
You can purchase Faces of a Small City here
Thanks for reading