Cover Image: The Pursued and the Pursuing

The Pursued and the Pursuing

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Dart Frog Books and Netgalley for an arc of this book.

What if Gatsby hadn't died at the end of The Great Gatsby? This story picks up where TGG left off, but Gatsby isn't dead, and he and Nick recognize their feelings for each other. It is organized as multiple short stories that happen throughout the rest of their lives.

This was such a feel-good book. I definitely feel like everyone recognizes the homoerotic subtext within The Great Gatsby and it is so nice to have Nick's pov turn into this! I loved the addition of Pammy--grown up, and how Nick's niece changed his and Gatsby's life. I love that Pam is intersex and there is all kinds of other diversity in this book!

It takes a lot to turn this book into something more aligned with the ideals of our time, and I love that Odasso has done it for us! Truly reconciles the problems from the original novel and makes Nick and Gatsby both much more likable characters.

This did read a bit disjointed and not all the stories/chapters felt entirely necessary. I definitely feel like I would have liked this better had it had a more consistent plot? I still enjoyed it though!

Content Warnings
Moderate: Transphobia, Medical trauma, and Homophobia
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The Pursued and The Pursuing by AJ Odasso starts where The Great Gatsby left off, except that Jay Gatsby doesn’t die but most people think that he did. Nick helps Jay to recover and keeps his whereabouts a secret. Then they take whatever is left of Jay’s money and travel the world. Nick and Jay fall in love. Maybe their steamy romance wasn’t supposed to last but it did. It is a different take on what happened to The Great Gatsby character. I didn’t have trouble with the characters being men. I just couldn’t picture them as Leonardo DiCaprio and what’s-his-name. Blame what’s-his-name I guess. I just cannot picture him being romantic with anyone – not even Mary Jane in Spiderman. So I just imagined two anonymous handsome guys. It’s probably weird.

After traveling the world for awhile, they settle down in Boston. Nick writes for a newspaper and Jay repairs old yachts. They have a nice life together. Then one day years after they left New York, Daisy calls Nick. She needs a bit of help with her daughter, Pam.

Pam has an fairly unique story. She’s very bright but Daisy thinks that something is not right. The doctors think that she has XY chromosomes instead of XX. The doctors want to do surgery. Daisy wants to let them. I’m not sure why they think surgery will help. She probably has Swyer syndrome – so she has female parts but will not go through puberty or have children without borrowing eggs and receiving hormone replacement therapy.

I think Pam identifies as being a female and a lesbian. She doesn’t seem interested in surgery to change her body. Nick is protective of Pam and refuses to allow the surgery. No one wants to tell Tom because he’s even more unpleasant than ever. He might love his daughter but he doesn’t understand her at all. Ugh. Tom.

Nick and Jay love Pam as if she were their own daughter. No one really likes Daisy. Why was Jay so obsessed with her? She’s not ever been likable. Sometimes I thought Pam was trying to deceive Nick and Jay. Can Pam be trusted? Her parents are liars so why should she be different? I like Pam but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

If you like steamy romances and a little bit of decadence, then you will enjoy The Pursued and the Pursuing.

Well, I guess if you aren’t a fan of LGBT romance or fiction, then you are missing out on a great book.

I read this as part of the BookRiot 2021 Read Harder Challenge. #8 – Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author
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I really enjoyed this! I was the sort of kid who in high school was a Nick/Gatsby truther and this is exactly the sort of thing I was looking forward to now that Gatsby is in the public domain. Some of the other reviews have mentioned that it has a very fanfiction-like style and that there's more plot than vibes, which is true, but to me just contributed to my enjoyment of it! It doesn't do anything particularly groundbreaking, but sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a good fix it, domestic read where queer characters get to live in their happy little bubbles despite the circumstances. 

I'm definitely glad that I got this book and will be recommending it to my friends when it's out!
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An absolute delight of a book! Anybody who is familiar with the public domain knew it wouldn't take long for the first continuation of Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby. I honestly didn't expect one of the first novels of this kind to be such joyous fun! An absolute romp of a book that puts a strong emphasis on the enduring importance of found family!
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I never read The Great Gatsby in high school, but I love it when people take old straight, white stories and twist them so I picked this up as soon as I could. I enjoyed it, but even with the explicit queerness it wasn't my cup of tea.
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DNF

I can understand why some would love this, but it just wasn’t for me.  If you loved the great gatsby you could love this, but for me I was looking for a book that could transform the great gatsby into something i could like, and this wasnt it
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I absolutely loved this MM romance.

Such a great book with a solid storyline and great characters.

I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author.

A definite recommend!
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4.5 Stars

I love discovering new authors and was pleasantly surprised by AJ Odasso’s fresh retelling of The Great Gatsby. But before I go any further, the title and cover have to be mentioned. I only understood why the author had chosen to name the book The Pursued and the Pursuing once I’d read the first couple of chapters. It’s perfect! And I’d be the first one to have this stunning cover poster size hanging on my wall.

The author explores what-ifs with prose worthy of being taken seriously. This time around, he’s generously given Jay Gatsby (James Gatz) a second chance, so it’s not difficult to imagine that most things change. From the word go, the reader learns that Nick Carraway’s only concern is Jay’s well-being. And I was beyond satisfied that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. However, I wish I could have experienced a different Daisy...no surprise here though. Seeing Odasso give importance to her and Tom’s daughter, Pammy, warmed my heart. If you’ve read Fitzgerald’s novel, you’ll know exactly where I’m going.

I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say that the author’s narrative of Fitzgerald’s novel is fanfiction. For me, it was a tribute to the characters, his poetic license intensifying the feelings Jay and Nick have for each other. I was delighted that Odasso respected their personalities—and Nick’s unselfishness wiggling its way back into my heart was an added plus. Not only does he help Jay realise there’s much more to life than the one he had led, but their journey would be a time for reflection and just maybe, a future together.

And reflect on many things is just what I did. Wartime ponderings, heartbreak, deception, and where one least expects queerness to have an effect but does strongly, is driven home without any remorse. It hurts me to say this as I thoroughly enjoyed reading the new take on this epic story. A couple of passages felt a tad drawn out; nonetheless, the author’s storytelling outweighs these few setbacks here and back to the original version.

Simply magnificent, Odasso! You pulled it off beyond my expectations!

ARC kindly received from Dartfrog Books/Dartfrog Blue via NetGalley for an honest review.
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Thank you for this advance readers copy. I loved the beginning of this book so much and seeing Nick and Gatsby's love grow but about 50% through I started to get a little tired. I finished it but towards the end I did consider putting it down 

I really liked that this was a sort of continuation of The Great Gatsby and I can totally understand why lots of reviewrs have given the book 5 stars. It is a wonderful imaging of what happens next and that is why I enjoyed the first couple of chapters so much.  It really felt as though this was the path that Nick had taken and I really liked the cover art as well I thought it was perfect for the aesthetic. 

I am giving this book 4 stars because I adored the 'fanfic' element to a wonderful Classic but think that part 2 of this title needs to have more movement and a reason to keep reading.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby entered the public domain in the United States this year, making space for this sequel by AJ Odasso, The Pursued and the Pursuing. In this version, Jay Gatsby survives the bullet from Myrtle's husband, and during his recovery he rekindles his old feelings for Nick Carraway (who narrates the original novel as well as this sequel). Jay and Nick reveal to each other that, in addition to having tried to settle down with women, they had brief affairs with other men, but they have never stopped thinking about each other.

That the newspaper has already run an obituary for the socialite Jay Gatsby gives him an opportunity to reinvent himself as—or, more accurately, revert himself to—his James Gatz identity. He and Nick have lots of sex, live as partners, and are cavalier about their obviousness, so people in close proximity tend to pick up that they are a couple. Meanwhile, Jay's old girlfriend Daisy Buchanan gets back in touch. Jay and Nick don't much care for her or her husband Tom, but they adore her teenage daughter Pam, who has her own sexuality and gender journey and becomes like a surrogate daughter to them. Thus they spend the 1930s.

Odasso's voice in this novel is different from F. Scott Fitzgerald's, especially in the homoerotic escapades and related discussions which feel much more modern, but neither is it entirely dissimilar from Fitzgerald's. It's an homage, and there's some artistic continuity in the setting, the language, and the rhythm of the sentences. It's a good balance between familiar and speculative, breathing new life into old characters.

Do we need a gay Gatsby? Yes. Yes, we do.

The ending draws the novel gently to a close. At that point, the story feels not quite wrapped up, but perhaps nothing needs to be wrapped up. Instead, the ending draws us to a very particular place we need to be.
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When I read The Great Gatsby in my junior year of high school, I was enamored by the characters and the setting and easily found myself swept up in the style and glamour of the writing itself. I will embarrassingly admit now as a proud, queer adult that I had interpreted some of Nick’s descriptions of Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s original as romantic in inclination, and find the whole premise of this sequel absolutely wonderful, so I sat about my house for days and read it. Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy. 

As for the actual story, it is a tad far-fetched, but no more than the plot of The Great Gatsby (referred to as GG for the rest of this review) itself. Odasso maintains all of the writing and style facets of the original, but provides better characterizations and more context, making it a more enjoyable read than GG, for me personally anyway. While it serves its purpose as a sequel to continue the plot, themes, and ideas, I feel that The Pursued and the Pursuing outshined GG in a lot of ways and goes beyond the now seemingly narrrow-minded worldview of the original. 

I do have one fault with the book, but it isn’t major enough to lose any real favor with me, and it is the book’s optimism in regards to queer people in the time period. There were definitely queer people alive and well during the time, don’t get me wrong, but it was almost unsettling how happy the plots ended throughout the story, given all of the tragedy for queer people at the time. Despite my paranoia of something bad happening to any of the characters, I still found myself enjoying the uncharacteristic happy moments and, with a reminder that it is all fictional, I really enjoyed how the story turned out overall. 

I really appreciate all of the time and effort that went into researching and writing this book as well, there’s a lot of attention to detail that could be easily missed, but Odasso does a fantastic job of capturing all of the wonderful stuff  about, well, everything. From the prose of the original writing and the complicated metaphors woven throughout the story to the historical setting of the war and the progression between the 20’s, 30’s and into the 40’s, the Pursued and the Pursuing encapsulates everything I would have wanted in a sequel to the Great Gatsby. 

Thank you again to DartFrog Books for the read, I look forward to purchasing a copy on my own when it becomes available.
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I loved the Great Gatsby so thought it would be a great read. Plus the cover is total fun!!
                                  It is described by one reader as odd and charming. 
Although not the read I was expecting, I am delighted this story found so many readers who love it!

Want to thank NetGalley and Dart Frog Books, for this eGalley. This file has been made available to me before publication in an early form for my honest professional opinion.
 Publishing Release Date scheduled for September 28, 2021
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I distinctly remember reading the web novella that would eventually become this final book years ago in college. I had read the Great Gatsby before for school, but the movie had prompted me to take a second look at the text, particularly the relationship between Nick and Gatsby. 

The beautiful cover only enticed me further and I knew I had to read it again. I'm delighted to say this is better than I remember it being, and I remember loving that novella quite well.

Of course seeing Nick and Gatsby come together, with a slight deviation from the novel's events, is quite good. that should almost go without saying. But yes, the book really picks up when Pam enters the picture and we get found queer family.  From here we see an older Nick and Gatsby and how their personalities have changed and settled with time, to the point that Nick even self-deprecatingly notes they seemed to have switched roles at times. The book is really quite charming, with Nick and Gatsby's relationship remaining steadfast through life's obstacles.

I also appreciate the little touches that transport us back in time to an earlier era - discussions of WWI, worry as WWII started up, as well as smaller touches such as characters having to hunt for a phone. Plus, the language overall feels true to the characters and Fitzgerald's style - I don't envy anyone who tries to emulate that and Odasso has succeeded quite well at the task.

Do I have any criticisms? Aside from a couple of small typos that I noticed, not really (a scene in chapter 5 or 6 confused me briefly, with Daisy's name used when in context it's clearly Pam who's speaking). Perhaps the only other thing I can point to is that, for me at least, there was a slight lag between Nick and Gatsby coming together and Pam entering their lives.

Still, I highly recommend this book for Gatsby lovers, readers who want to curl up with a slice-of-life story that still has some impressive stakes at times, and people seeking an LBGTQIA+ book with diverse representation.
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4.5 stars, just on the edge.

I wanted to give myself a few days to absorb this before I wrote a review.

I really very much enjoyed the book, I always love stories that are about speculations and what-ifs, 'fix-it' stories if you will, particularly along these lines, and I therefore absorbed it in two quick sittings, with a small break in the middle for getting a flight. I highly enjoyed and appreciated that this doesn't romanticise the characters from the original story (although, don't get me wrong, there's romance abound) and allows bad people to be bad, not falling into the trap of trying to redeem everyone.

I would say that nothing much plot wise occurs in this story and whilst for me that was delightful, give me two hundred pages of lovely characters living their best lives any day of the week, if you're more of a plot driven person and you need 'things' to happen in the story in order to enjoy it, this might not be for you.

That being said, I had a good time and will probably find myself idly re-reading it on a lazy autumnal afternoon. It seems that kind of story.

(Thanks to NetGalley and DartFrog Books for allowing me to read a copy in exchange for an honest review)
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A good book for those who read The Great Gatsby and saw something between Nick and Jay that many didn’t. This was a good fun read of characters that we thought we knew. It makes some very obvious changes to the original story for the sake of a plot. At some point it felt a bit like I was reading fan fiction, but then I realized that it was too well written to be fanfic. All around a good and fun read.
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Intriguing "alternate" continuation of The Great Gatsby, where, no spoilers because it happens on page 1, Nick saves Gatsby's life after the shooting, and then they fall in love.

A bit too  episodic and jumpy for me-- the narrator had a tendency to condense things, then go backwards and explain them. But it was intriguing so I soldiered on, beating against the current, so to speak, to the satisfying ending. 

If you ever read Gatsby and wanted Nick and Jay to have a HEA, then this is the book for you.
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Thank you so much to Net Galley and the publisher, DartFrog Books, for providing me with the digital ARC for this book!

I've been reading and following Odasso's work for years. If you're lucky enough to be just discovering them with their first published work of fiction, congrats! It's been a wonderful journey through several books of poetry for them to get here. (That being said, DO seek out their poetry when you're done!)

I've followed Odasso through years of amazing, beautiful work. Odasso has never shied away from dealing with the harder areas of life in their work and one is no different. But they definitely have a way of making them not as...sharp.

(I know I use the word "amazing" a lot, but it's very true. I'm always just generally left in awe by Odasso's work--how beautiful the diction is, the smooth flow, the sheer, evocative power of their text. You'll inevitably find something that hits home for you and it'll be one heck of a journey!)

This isn't one to miss. If you're a fan of The Great Gatsby, pick it up without hesitation. And even if you're not (like me, but I jump at the chance to read anything Odasso writes!), I have no doubt you'll be impressed by the special brand of beauty and storytelling that's trademark to Odasso.
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I spent last semester reading and studying adaptations of Shakespeare which included prequels and sequels to some of his most popular works. I wouldn't be surprised if similarly a few years from now <i>The Pursued and the Pursuing</i> appeared in the syllabus of such a university class regarding F. Scott Fitzgerald.

What would happen if <i>The Great Gatsby</i> ended differently. If Nick and Jay had the chance to act on their mutual attraction that's undoubtedly among the pages of the source novel? I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them change as they lived their life and seeing little Pam grow up.

And look, it has very varied ratings. Some loved it, some hated it. I think that's the characteristic of all great literary works. Thank you so much NetGalley and DartFrog Books for the ARC. I'm in the former category.

(Also to those who bemoan the fact that this is basically just a fanfiction: <i>all</i> adaptations are fanfiction when you think about it.)
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Thank you to the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for giving me an early access copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

TLDR: While I recognize that this book has a lot of really good elements, I don't think this book was really for me. I liked it but at times it was a drag to read. If you really loved Gatsby (either the movie or the book) I think this book is for you.

The Pursued and the Pursuing is a continuation of the classic 1920s novel The Great Gatsby where instead of dying, Gatsby faked his own death. I think this book is good, but just not really for me. While I liked the original novel well enough in high school, I don't think I liked it enough to love this book. The book is really well written and the characters are good, but this book read like a fanfiction. This is not a bad thing, I love fanfiction, but it did give me the sense that I was reading a fanfiction for a fandom that I was not a part of. 

Overall, it is a good book. If you were really into Gatsby you will really like this book.
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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley for the book. I am a Great Gatsby sucker and this book was exactly what I needed. It's the second Gatsby adaptation I've read this year (the first being The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo) and it was very different from the first. This book is a continuation of the first, a "what happens after" story and it's just beautiful and heartwarming and sweet. It reads like a fix it fic to be honest - I'm 90% sure it was fan fiction to begin with - but I loved that. Lots of tropes that I loved, sweet interactions, writing that felt close to Fitzgerald's style. There were one or two things that I didn't love about it - a couple of problematic things that I'm not sure were discussed in the best way (while they may have been periodically accurate I don't think that means that we should write like that) but overall very sweet and soft and funny and excellent.
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