I heard today that Lands End, the New York mansion that inspired Daisy Buchanan’s home in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, is scheduled for demolition this week. Apparently, nobody cared about the house enough to save it. Seems like it should have been on the National Register of Historic Places or something. This makes me think of how everything passes away.
I felt a little embarrassed when I led The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian a few months ago in book group. He loves The Great Gatsby–it’s a favorite novel of his, and he wove it into the plot, along with photos taken by a Vermont homeless man who had once been a photographer in better times. The Double Bind is very moving and powerful; we related to it in many ways. It’s a worthy discussion title. Proceeds from the purchase of the novel support a local homeless shelter in Bohjalian’s town. The man who took the pictures had passed away during the time that he was working on the book. They found them among the man’s personal effects. People are cataloguing and organizing the rest of the photos, hopefully for an exhibit one day.
One of my questions for the group was “Has anyone ever read The Great Gatsby?” I was the only one who had not, but I recognized the characters right away through other things I read, and my research. Several people encouraged me to try it, and they also recommended the movie. Well, I tried the book, and wasn’t impressed. I didn’t get very far; I’m not sure why I was bored. It’s nice to know someone agrees with me. Another column shows a picture of the real Lands End.
Maybe I’ll try again one day. Then again, maybe not.