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The Great Gatsby

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms father...-The Great Gatsby

Basically, every passage from this book is worth quoting. It's famous for its economy and precision of word choice. But I chose some standouts anyway. I tend to find people enjoy Gatsby most in retrospect. The book looms like a shadow over past recollections, becoming more important and better written the longer it's been since you first read it. I guess that's appropriate. Anyway. On to quotes.

Hoorah for characterisation:

He smiled understandingly- much more than understandingly. It was one of htose rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced- or seemed to face- the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with irresistable prejudice in your favor.

Have fun searching for green lights in other books, and then connecting them to this one. (I am looking at you, Half Blood Prince:

But I didn't call him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone- he stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he as trembling. In voluntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone in the unquiet darkness.

I am young and naive and like to believe Nick, but he is the ultimate in unreliable narrators:

Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.

I dunno why, but this passage always stuck with me:

"He's a bootlegger," said the young ladies, moving somewhere between his cocktails and his flowers. "One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil. Reach me a rose, honey, and pour me a last drop into that there crystal glass."

Homosexual undertones WTF passage:

"Keep your hands off the lever," snapped the elevator boy.
"I beg your pardon," said Mr. McKee with dignity. "I didn't know I was touching it."
"All right," I agreed, "I'll be glad to."
...I was standing beside his bed and he was sitting up between the sheets, clad in his underwear, with a great portfolio in his hands.

This is Scott's epitaph:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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