So yes, the Gladstone Press edition of The Great Gatsby is now available, and it is gorgeous! I must admit that it was a daunting task to redesign this classic: the original cover by Francis Cugat is so iconic that Fitzgerald altered his text to include a reference to the image of Daisy floating in the air. That’s hard to beat.
Some of you have asked for me to talk a bit about my design choices, so here goes!
For the cover design of my edition, I chose to portray Gatsby’s yellow 1922 Rolls Royce. The original car was very long and boxy – a status symbol, yes, but not really evocative enough for the book. So I created a Deco-tinged version with headlights on, racing through the darkness of the Valley of Ashes.
On the title page you’ll find a great party scene (Dancing Couples no. 2) created by Anne Harriet Fish and first seen on the cover of Vanity Fair in March 1921. I love how flat it is – that two-dimensionality works well to describe the party scenes in the book (and remember parties? Yeah).
And yes, there is a map! (If I can find a way to add a map, I’ll add a map.) When I first read Gatsby, I had a hard time picturing where the book was set, and the proximity of the two Eggs to New York City was very abstract in my head. Hence the map. After all, Fitzgerald may have changed place names, but they were based on real locations.
If you read Gatsby when you were young, you may be like myself: my early impressions were of an achingly tragic romantic novel, full of wealth and sparkle. There was a magic to it all.
Now that I’m older, I can see so many other layers to the book: each character’s likability is now the opposite of how I felt on first read (except Tom – there’s no way I can defend him); the striving and failing to secure the American Dream seems more pronounced, as does the social strata that keeps some from rising above their station; and of course, there is the stark contrast between people who want to remember the past vs. those who would rather forget. Gatsby was published in 1925, and in those readers’ rear-view mirrors were both the First World War and the Spanish Flu. Everyone wanted to forget the last decade and live in the moment (for good reason). Perhaps that’s why Gatsby was initially a flop: it was poking holes in everyone’s fun.
(By the way, The New York Times Book Review ran an essay about four significant modernist novels that all happened to be published in 1925. Two of them are available through my press: Mrs Dalloway and The Great Gatsby.)
Anyway. I can draw parallels between now and then because [waves hands], and it’s fun to say that we’re in the Roaring Twenties again, so perhaps fix yourself a martini (or Manhattan?) and cozy up with the social whirl of West and East Egg.
How to buy: Find it instore
You can buy The Great Gatsby online at Indigo.ca and have it shipped to your nearby Chapters or Indigo, or order in through your local indie. Here are a few independent bookstores currently stocking Gatsby:
Pages on Kensington, Calgary
Brome Lake Books, Knowlton
Westminster Books, Fredericton
Or you can order direct
If you can’t find a store near you, you can always order directly here. (Bonus: you will also receive the matching bookmark. Yep, every book I publish comes with its own custom-designed bookmark!)
I offer $5 shipping across Canada and the U.S. (free for any order over $40), and if you are in downtown Toronto (St. Clair to Lakeshore, High Park to the Don River), I will gladly do a next business day contactless delivery for free!