Title: The Chosen and the Beautiful
Author: Nghi Vo
Genre: Fantasy, Literary, LGBTQIA+
Nghi Vo’s retelling of “The Great Gatsby” in my opinion is better than the original text. Don’t get me wrong. I loved and still love The Great Gatsby but this refreshing take, which in turn just becomes Vo’s original voice is fantastic, nothing short of spectacular.
Everything is there – the madness, the passion, the love, and it is brilliant, with Jay Gatsby being a bisexual vampire. I mean, WHOA, right? I mean, WTF, isn’t it? But it is what it is and Vo has us enter her world and hold us there from the first page on.
There are black arts added to the story. Nick is no longer a part of it. We have Jordan Baker, a Vietnamese American, an orphan, raised by an American family, telling the tale.
There is queer-phobia and racism that isn’t hidden. Vo has demolished The Great Gatsby and created something new of its rubble. I think this is also quite a homage to the classic. At the same time, it is unique, has a voice of its own, and stands out on every single page.
The Chosen and the Beautiful speaks of class, racism, sexual aggression, and power like the classic did not. It is political and that’s how it should be, in my opinion.
Things are magical and so is the writing. Vo’s descriptions made me turn those pages again and reread just to soak in the language. Jordan’s relationship with Daisy and Tom is another matter altogether. It is fluid, caustic, and extremely toxic.
Vo’s writing is marvellous. You don’t get the time to breathe. You are gasping for air and yet want to turn those pages as quickly as ever.