Audie Award Finalist, Classic, 2014
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.
After meeting and losing Daisy during the war, Gatsby has made himself fabulously wealthy. Now, he believes that his only way to true happiness is to find his way back into Daisy’s life, and he uses Nick to try to reach her. What happens when the characters’ fantasies are confronted with reality makes for a startling conclusion to this iconic masterpiece.
This special audio edition joins the upcoming film - as well as many other movie, radio, theater, and even video-game adaptations - as a fitting tribute to the cultural significance of Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age classic, widely regarded as one of the greatest stories ever told.
It’s always a little risky listening to a text you love narrated by someone else, someone whose voice might jar with the rhythm of the piece or miss the spirit of the characters... but not in this case. Gyllenhaal plays a brilliant Carraway, making the shimmering world of 1920s Jazz Age with all it’s illusions and deceptions and class difference and dreamer intensity come alive. While the text can be jarring in places with conventions (or prejudices) that certainly belong in an earlier age, it’s underlying meditation on character, honor, and what Fitzgerald calls here the “carelessness” of the privileged classes is still deeply poignant, and decidedly current.
I was reluctant to listen to a book read by a screen actor, and one I don't particularly love. I thought the creators would be selling the name rather than a gifted reader. I was wrong. Not only did Jake Gyllenhall read the story well, he did so in an almost whispered style that I think captured the book's subtlety in supreme manor. I can highly recommend this audiobook.
8 personnes sur 8 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
I was pretty excited when I saw this release. I hadn't read The Great Gatsby before, but I was aware of the soon to be released movie. I am a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor and I was curious about how his first audiobook narration would go.
To be honest, the listening was very dissapointing. From the very beginning I noticed how Gyllenhaal was merely whispering his way through the book. At first I thought this was needed to keep a nostalgic mood for the novel introduction, but the pace, tone and volume kept exactly the same till the end.
I even wondered wether Jake was trying very hard to sound what, sexy? Except that didn't work when he had to switch between different characters. When dialog occured, I had a very hard time distinguishing what character was supposed to be talking, the voice-acting being so plain. Only Tom and Gatsby sounded distinct (if not cued by hearing "oldsport" at the end of every Gatsby's line). Appart from them, even male and female characters were undistinguishable from each other, for they all had the same dull, muted voice of Nick, the narrator.
Also, there's lack of emotion everywhere. Not even lines like "oh my god" (hint: near the end) sound convincing enough to me. When characters are supposed to be really angry, Jake makes them sound like presenting their arguments as-a-matter-of-fact-ly. Several times I found myself mentally repeating the lines with my own expression added to it, in order to try and enjoy the novel a bit more.
Unfortunately, there's something else to add. There are several occasions in which listeners will notice audio editing, (i.e. cut and paste voice clips in the right place), like when the narrator does a mistake during recording and has to do a second take, but resumes from few words behind (presumably after a comma) instead of reading again the whole parragraph. You can tell where's the cut because of the change in Gyllenhaal's breath or the apparent variation in distance to mic (different envelope or openness sound).
As for the story... I didn't like it. But I can't tell to what extent the negative experience was due to the narration performance. It could simply be a different writing style than I was expecting, though. As I stated before, I didn't know the story before.
Bottom line: I don't recommend this audiobook. I sincerely hope Gyllenhaal gets better at narrating if he seeks this path.
3 personnes sur 3 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
I apologise if you've read my previous review of the William Hope production, but what follows is essentially the same down to the Performance. Skip to there is you've read the other review.
What can I say? It is one of the best known plots of modern times. It is regarded as a modern American classic, alongside "Grapes of Wrath", Huck Finn's Adventures and Scout's wondering at her father's integrity. But for me, it has always been missing something. I know it's about soulless people for whom, what it looks like is more important than what it is. So of course it is missing something. That's the point! But still, there's something I can't put my finger on that separates this from the true "Greats".
I just read Melinda's review (which I always read with interest). She gets it, but I don't. For me Fitzgerald has so successfully dismissed these glitzy cut-out figures, that I have no empathy for any of them, not even Dan. That leaves me this: awed by the language, but not so hot about the story. And, isn't it all about the story? Anyway, who am I to criticise the book. It can't have been too bad because I listened to two versions of it over a day!
Overall, I think my prejudice is not a good guide. I love the language, but I could easily never read this again. I wouldn't say the same for Wrath, Mockingbird or Finn, and certainly I will read Of Mice and Men again, hopefully many times.
I listened to this version of the tale second. I started with the William Hope version, then saw the Jake Gyllenhaal one advertised. It wasn't that I wasn't enjoying Hope's performance, because I listened to both from "cover to cover". However, maybe because I was looking for something more, I thought I would listen to this production, too, It had the redeeming feature of being an hour shorter, but I can't work out why that is. Certainly Gyllenhaal didn't read too quickly. To the contrary, I found his easy pace much more endearing that Hope's dramatisation, although I found Hope's characterisation better, overall. Also, I was driven to the hard copy with Gyllenhaal's telling because he punctuated it where he wanted to, not where the text does. On some occasions this changed the meaning of the language. I liked both versions and I can recommend both, but if forced to choose, I would opt for the more accurate reading (ie, Hope's) because I thing the language, including the punctuation, is the best of this book.
7 personnes sur 8 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
If you are in for a treat give yourself 4 hours of delightful entertaining.
Gatsby's sad but scintillating story is told by Fitzgerald perfect prose, with Gyllenhaal wonderful reading.
Whether you - like me - read it long ago and want to reread it now, or for the first time approach it, maybe because the movie brought it back under the spotlight, do not miss it.
2 personnes sur 2 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
It is poetry disguised as prose. Every word has a place and every combination of words packs within it a beauty, a profound sadness, an alluring decadence that almost fills you with envy for the writer‘s prowess in wielding his pen. Jake Gyllenhaal's narration couldn't have been more perfect.
1 personnes sur 1 ont trouvé cette évaluation pertinente
The petty troubles and mere-miseries of the bourgeoise.
Although jake gyllenhaal was one of the best narrators I've ever heard!
There is a fantastic figure gliding toward Jay Gatsby through the amorphous trees, the destined broken American dreams, and the wonderful yet unreal past. All memories are ashen. Staring at the remote green light coming from Daisy's dock, Gatsby innocently and tragically believed in the charming voice full of money and carelessness.
Now that I've experienced a good number of audio books, I can honestly say that this is one of the finest performances. The narration is flawless. The book itself, is a thing of poetic beauty, and it comes across seemlessly, in this production.
I can't understand why people love this book. Other than the opening line nothing was thought provoking, or even interesting. Nothing happened.
I really enjoyed the narration of this amazing book. I totally recommend it for those who are willing to enter the great world of Fitzgerald.