Pratyush is usually into philosophy but this time he came to the BYOB Party with a classic, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a book unanimously voted by the group as an easier read even though it has the classic tag attached to it. The book as most of you must know is set in the Jazz Age in the US, the 1920s, and deals with love and luxury. Fitzgerald portrays wealth by using lushness in his descriptions as well; for instance in the book there is a passage about Gatsby’s Rolls-Royce describing its ‘rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns.’
The question arose about the fact that the classics were written keeping a certain generation of people in mind. Today when the world is your oyster or the world is in your cellphone, do you really to know what a particular historical monument looks like when you can google a picture and much information about it? Apurba believes that this age perhaps does not require descriptive writing as much. She spoke about another book by Fitzgerald that she particularly admired – This Side of Paradise which tells the story of Amory Blaine from prep school to Princeton; the description of Princeton and the students’ perspective was enlightening.
Stephen spoke about how he read books on Wodehouse on weekdays and a Dick Francis omnibus on weekends. He spoke at great length about the relatable crime thrillers set in the 1960s. He was a unique figure, a champion steeplechase jockey and bestselling author of 42 crime novels (An unauthorized biography of the author by Graham Lord claimed that Francis’s wife, Mary, wrote most of his books but refused to reveal this as the books would sell more if ‘authored’ by a man. This claim has been denied).