Category Archives: Classic crime fiction

Nick Carraway, P.I.

Is The Great Gatsby the forerunner of the modern crime novel?

In my younger years, my father gave me some advice  — wait, that wasn’t me.

Let’s try again: In my younger years, I read The Great Gatsby twice. Once in high school, again in college, sprinting through its nine economically-written chapters so I could write the obligatory paper on “Car Culture and the American Dream in Gatsby.” I didn’t slow down to pay attention to the details, because I wanted to get back to what I really loved in those days — reading hardboiled crime novels. Which is funny, because had I paid attention, I would have seen that Gatsby is, in all but structure, a hardboiled novel. The literary techniques that turn up again and again in noir – a detached narrator, a temporary love interest, and great big pile of plot coincidences – can all clearly be seen in ‘Gatsby.’

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