"Silence. Only a simple silence and a walk and he felt like he could be human again. But that wasn’t going to happen. He ate and took slow and heavy breaths and finally the shaking slowed and then stopped." - Nick, Michael Farris Smith
The narrator in the shadows the glitz and glamour of The Great Gatsby finally gets his chance at telling story. Smith paints a beautiful, heart-wrenching portrait of Nick Carroway's life before he meets Jay Gatsby. Ironically, there are many aspects that mirror The Great Gatsby, and I wholeheartedly loved it.
Synopsis: Nick Carroway is a soldier during WWI deep in the trenches, forests and war camps in France. During a paid leave, he spends some time in Paris exploring and meeting a wonderful woman who sets his course after the war ends. In his quest to forget what he saw in the war and possibly find the woman he lost, he diverges from going to his home in Minnesota to the wild streets of New Orleans. The city sets him on a whole new journey on Bourbon street where he learns to find hope again among the frenzied streets.
I loved this novel so so so much. The Great Gatsby has always been a favorite classic of mine, and I have always been interested in the man who narrated Gatsby and Daisy's whirlwind of a story. Smith brought a side of Nick alive that we did not get to see in the original novel. I appreciated how deep he went to tell the story of what happened to Nick in WWI. You truly feel like you are on the battlefield with him.
While there may have been apprehension about this prequel to a Great American classic, I believe it did justice to Nick and his story. It brought everything full circle for me, and I am so pleased with this book as a whole. 5 whole stars and a top read in 2021 for me!