I don’t actually remember buying this book but it turned up at the bottom of a pile when I was moving the heap of books waiting to be read from the side of the sofa onto the revolving bookcase I bought in an effort to tidy the sitting room.
I can see why I might have bought it. It has an attractive cover, the blurb from Michael Frayn is good and the synopsis inside the front cover sounds interesting.
It was also an easy and quite interesting afternoons read but…
Essentially the book is a direct lift of The Great Gatsby relocated to London in the Noughties and with Russian oligarchs rather than the new/old money Americans of the source novel.
The narrator, rather than being a bond salesman, works in a bookshop and is tasked by Gorsky, the Gatsby equivalent, with creating the perfect library to impress the love of his life, Natalia Summerscale.
As he gets drawn into their lives Nick, the narrator, describes the life of the super-rich in the 21st century.
As I said earlier, an easy and quite enjoyable book but…
Knowing The Great Gatsby, and enjoying F Scott Fitzgerald’s work, this book is a blatant rip off of it and a pale imitation. Fitzgerald managed to make his characters believable as human beings as well as portraying the emptiness of their lives and souls. Goldsworthy just doesn’t breathe life into her characters and I didn’t care about the injustice of the wrong man getting killed.
Given a choice I’d spend the afternoon with Gatsby not Gorsky.