There was certainly a Leonardo Dicaprio sized elephant in the room this month. Even though most of us haven’t seen the movie, a number of our Nookers struggled with having the image of Leo inextricably linked to the character of Jay Gatsby. It is tough to establish any consensus as to whether or not Leonardo Dicaprio was the right actor to portray Mr. Gatsby; but one thing that there is a consensus on is that we have just read a truly great novel. Just as we did last month, we followed a tale of self destructive obsession and the way love at a distance seems to corrupt itself over time, twisting into a mess of both idealised beauty and the grotesque inner workings of an obsessed mind in retrograde, flailing pathetically against the passing of time in some attempt at making things as they were. We can not control our lives like this, and if you ever again met the one you fell for but never got to know, that miserable cliche ‘that got away’, you’d probably find they are nothing like the person you had a million imaginary conversations with over the following weeks. When i was 8 we visited an island in Fiji and I stood on that gorgeous sand and stared out at another distant rocky island. It seemed to me a beacon, like Gatsby’s green light, it’s sharp faces and pointed peaks promising lush valleys and countless hidden rocky coves that would of course be filled with rickety boardwalks and paper lanterns like something out of a pirate movie. I visited that island many years later. Those lofty peaks were just hills, and the vegetation had decided not to attempt an interpretation of ‘lushness’, and had instead gone for pure density: struggling vine-choked palms emerging meekly from a blanket of flaccid, desaturated weeds. There was not one pirate to be seen. You will meet a lot of these islands, and building a life around returning to them can only bring you pain. That, in my opinion, is why The Great Gatsby is such a valuable lesson. Check our bio to see what we’ve got lined up this month, grab a copy, and join in, we’d love to see you at the next meeting!