Listening to a recording of The Great Gatsby’s narrator Nick Carraway in New York City, a few years ago, I could hear his voice giving a lecture. Nick talked of the futility of real estate speculation. He mentioned regulations and taxes. He spoke of the significance of buying an apartment because it was in the U.S.A. No one seemed to be paying any attention. Over dinner, I ran into Nick’s friend Daisy. They shared a monologue. Neither of them could speak of anything serious. They didn’t seem frightened. They didn’t seem panicked. If anything, they appeared to be confused. Daisy murmured the sound of recitation — the sound of deep thought. Nick was quiet, his face a mask of anxiety, while Daisy was full of regret and regret and regret and regret and regret. Everything felt disorganized.
The giddiness of party life, the anticipation of youth, the belief that a comfortable future lies within our grasp, are gone. The fear of uncertainty has replaced these passions. The voice of The Great Gatsby sounds to me in the distance, a permanent sound of an alternative, alternate reality. One where things will never change. Things will never get worse.