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Why We Still Read ‘The Great Gatsby’

Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in a scene from "The Great Gatsby." (AP/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in a scene from “The Great Gatsby.” (AP/Warner Bros. Pictures)

This week the film “The Great Gatsby” opens in theaters around the country. It’s the sixth film adaptation of the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald classic.  The book has also been adapted for the stage at least twice and it has inspired an opera.

Here and Now literary critic Steve Almond re-reads the book every summer, and he says it continues to resonate today because readers can identify with its themes.

“We all have, or wish to have, outsized dreams, and it is about the aspirational nature of Americans,” Almond said.

Almond says “The Great Gatsby” touches on our past and present love-hate relationship with wealth and privilege.

“We are stuck in this simultaneous feeling of wanting to be at Gatsby’s party and be amidst all that and feel that power and juice and at the same time, knowing deep down that it’s utterly corrupt and empty,” Almond said.

Guest:

  • Steve Almond, Here and Now literary critic and author of “God Bless America”

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