So here’s the thing: I’m not like, super into The Great Gatsby. I read it in school, and like everyone else I’ve gone to a thousand Great Gatsby parties (hopefully we’re all done with them still, because otherwise the thematic appropriateness means we’ll be flappering well into the mid-20s).
But from what I remember, this book nails the overall ~*mood*~ of the book, which I feel is best summarized by one of my favorite words: insouciance. Everyone is always bright and fragile and brittle and shiny and desperate for a connection–you get the drift, you’re remembering it the same.
Vo makes two key changes, one of which I love and one of which I could have done without. First, Jordan Baker is reimagined as a queer Vietnamese adoptee who sleeps and drinks and charms her way through 20s NYC. Second, there’s an element of the demonic and occult that infuses the scene–people drink demon’s blood much like a rare, fine whiskey–and new!Baker has a type of magic (which seems to be genetic) that lets her create figures of paper and have them come to life, either literally (to replicate a person) or create like lively puppet things??
You can guess which change I didn’t care as much for.
So much is given new depths because Jordan is both an insider and an outsider. She’s a Baker, of course, but she’s also one of those “others” who are flooding NYC. She gets a front row seat to some of the nonsense that Daisy can do, as always, but there’s this secondary layer of how she couldn’t get away with the same herself. She’s a famous golfer while Daisy is a famous…socialite person.
Perhaps I couldn’t get the point of the demon bit, but it didn’t hamper my enjoyment that much. I’m not going to re-read the original, but I enjoyed getting a sense of the world of glamor and glitz after an eternity in quarantine.