K. Woodman-Maynard adapts F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic into a gorgeous graphic novel. Set in 1922 New York, the story follows Nick Carroway, a young man who’s come to New York to get into the bond business. He reconnects with his cousin Daisy and her wealthy husband Tom, and soon meets Jay Gatsby, a mysterious former suitor of Daisy’s who has also grown rich and is determined to win Daisy back.
The original’s themes of obsession, deception, reinvention, and the dissatisfactions of the wealthy are all captured in this adaptation. But the graphic novel has its own distinct style, helping to elaborate on those themes—and on the characters. Every part of the book, no matter how minor, is crafted to better convey the world of Gatsby and company. The text is set in typical word balloons, but also in a distinct, ornate balloon pattern that’s personal to Daisy, emphasizing her sometimes ethereal, sometimes flighty nature. Nick’s narration is placed along sidewalks or on buildings, and the chapters are marked in a perfect, period-accurate Art Deco lettering.
The book’s painted watercolors summon the decadence of the Gilded Age and offer their own powerful and creative images, like a depiction of Gatsby’s house made of cards and falling apart to match a description in the text, or a scene where Daisy floats into a room as if an “anchored balloon.” The Great Gatsby is a faithful version of Fitzgerald’s story, with new insights that come from the merging of the written word and graphic arts—the mark of a successful adaptation.
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