The Chosen and the Beautiful
by Nghi Vo
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Pub Date 01 Jun 2021 | Archive Date 27 Jan 2022
"Like Jordan’s own paper creations, The Chosen and the Beautiful captivates with its artistry and its power."—Helene Wecker
"Gatsby the way it should have been written—dark, dazzling, fantastical."—R. F. Kuang
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.
Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.
But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.
Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.
"Nghi Vo's stellar transformation of The Great Gatsby recasts the 'careless' Jordan Baker as a woman of depth and sharpness, a socialite forced to live in the margins of others’ lives. In Vo’s telling, the glitter of Gatsby’s parties conceals a sinister struggle—one where the players must survive on charms both literal and figurative, and the line between the invented and the real is endlessly blurred. Like Jordan’s own paper creations, The Chosen and the Beautiful captivates with its artistry and its power."
—Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
"The Chosen and the Beautiful is gorgeous and gripping, shining with language that shows us all the facets and dangers of yearning. Nghi Vo subverts and expands the possibilities of an American story, and magic is in the marrow of every sentence. I'm in awe of this book's expansive imagination and its exploration of what it means to discover desire, make your own myths, and define your belonging."
—K-Ming Chang, author of Bestiary and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Honoree
"Luxurious, thrilling, and sexy, Nghi Vo's debut novel dives into the world of The Great Gatsby and wears it like a second skin. A shapeshifter of a book that had me hypnotized from the first pages, The Chosen and the Beautiful brings new intensity to a story you thought you knew."
—Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire
"Decadent. Visual. Imaginative. Genius. Not enough words to praise this page-turning novel of sorcery, infernal compacts, and enchanted elixirs, in an altogether different 1920s New York. Nghi Vo snips apart, then magically weaves together a familiar story in a wholly original and decidedly unfamiliar way. Redo all the classics. And do them like this!"—P. Djèlí Clark, winner of the Alex, Locus, and Nebula Awards and author of Ring Shout
"A sumptuous novel that tangles with race, magic, sexuality, and class. Nghi Vo creates a world that drips with champagne and magic, where outsider’s views are the only ones that matter, and it's impossible to be sure who is or is not other. It’s bold to play in the realm of The Great Gatsby and Vo’s acerbic Jordan Baker is the perfect woman to do it."—Erika Swyler, author of The Book of Speculation
“This book is Gatsby the way it should have been written–dark, dazzling, and fantastical. Of course Jordan Baker should have been the main character. Of course everyone should have been messing with magic. Vo has created a perfect response to Fitzgerald in tone, voice, and theme.”—R. F. Kuang, winner of the Astounding Award and author of The Poppy War
"The Chosen and the Beautiful is a subversive, sexy, atmospheric, sweltering, gin-soaked, Hell-haunted vision of Gatsby's New York, with prose that will pull you under. I loved it."—Alix E. Harrow, winner of the Hugo Award and author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January
"Crisp as paper and delirious as a fever dream, this is a redrawn Gatsby daubed in gold leaf and lip rouge and blood. Nghi Vo gives a freshly imagined Jordan Baker her due, while infusing her glittering New York with a bottomless magical menace that feels both excitingly new and cosmically true to Fitzgerald’s original."—Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
"I adore this Jordan and her shimmering rage, the way it laces all her party glamour. It adds a queer vitality to this story that really resonates with me, her flamboyance being so rageful. The prose is like a bite of caramel that rips out your teeth. It's seething, creamy. It has a bloody taste."—Hannah Abigail Clarke, bestselling author of Scapegracers
-Outreach aimed at readers of The Great Gatsby, literary SFF, queer narratives, and the Asian diaspora including digital assets, targeted ads & group promotions with other books featuring historical fiction
-National print and online publicity campaign to genre and literary outlets, featuring review coverage, excerpts, interviews, and special mailings to influencers, book clubs, & more
-Author support for Nghi Vo, with sweepstakes & promotions for fans of her critically acclaimed Singing Hills Cycle novellas, bookseller & librarian buzz presentations, galley mailings, IndieNext campaign, & swag to drive consumer preorders
-Extensive coverage on Tor.com, which averages 1 million unique visitors and 3 million pageviews per month, with more than half a million newsletter subscribers and over 240K social media followers
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 236 members
Short review: A retelling of "The Great Gatsby", with magic & demon pacts.
Longer: A retelling of Gatsby with magic, demon pacts, a bisexual protagonist of Asian descent who occupies a unique liminal space in the society (by being both a member of a Good Family) but also clearly The Other (by virtue of her skin). It also presents a searing portrait of the hollow desperation and greediness of that era, not just as boring white people drinking too much, but of the destructive presence of drugs, temptation (in the form of infernal attaches, but they read as metaphorical), selfishness, misogyny, and the utter uncaring nature of the rich. Even better, this story isn't whitewashed - there are plenty of humans that exist outside Daisy and Gatsby's snow-globe view of the world, and they aren't all white, straight, or awed by the ridiculous spectacle of the too-much-money-not-enough-sense crowd. It also has sparkling prose and the flow of the narrative pulls the reader along effortlessly.
This book is a surreal dream someone had after they fell asleep reading The Great Gatsby. Filled with magic, queer people, and grappling with social issues, this book fills out the skeleton of Fitzgerald’s work and turns the familiar story into something richer and deeper. With the kind of perspective only being a century removed from an era can provide, Vo imagines a story where the characters are more alive and more compelling than originally envisioned. With this year’s crop of Gatsby-inspired books publishing as the original work finally enters the public domain, be sure not to miss this retelling of the tale that is both beautiful and damned.
Nghi Vo continues to stun with her beautiful prose, excellent exploration of themes, a well crafted main character and an atmosphere that felt like being submerged in 1920s New York.
The Chosen and the Beautiful is a Great Gatsby retelling, and I think fans of the original will adore this book. Admittedly I haven't read or know the story of the original, and I do think this affected my enjoyment of the story. I was far more invested in Jordans (the narrator) story than the story unfolding with Gatsby/Daisy/Tom which we see through Jordan's eyes. To my knowledge it follows pretty closely to the original, however there was some subtle magic woven in and although I would have liked more of this throughout the story, there was a twist at the end that felt like a beautiful ode to Jordan's heritage and desire to be loved.
The greatest strength of this novel (in my opinion) is Nghi Vo's luscious writing and enthralling atmosphere. The book is an experience that feels like being a fly on the wall amongst New Yors elite set, which in some ways is what Jordan is. My favourite scenes in the book were in the gay night club called the Cendrillion, I loved how sexuality was explored in this book, and that Jordan was bisexual. I was sort of expecting a sapphic relationship from the advertising which wasn't really what we got, but I still loved the representation, especially a bisexual woman being with a (very heavily implied to be) bisexual man. This book felt very queer, it just had vibes haha.
Exploring the desire to love and be loved, this book (and I think the original) is a look at the different lengths people will go to for love, and through each of the characters we see a different level of devotion and the lengths they are willing to go to enact that desire. Vo's writing really enhanced this theme, bringing to life the palpable sexual and romantic tension between all our characters. We also look at the different faces people present to the world, and how this affects perception, I loved how the magic added to this theme.
I also liked how elements of racial injustice in history were added, including the Manchester Act and Jordan's experience as a Vietnamese woman in the 1920s in an unwelcoming America. This added both important history as well as relevent current socio-political themes.
One thing I didn't love was the flashbacks, probably because these were added to give more of Daisy/Gatsby story and I felt they were taking away from the more interesting current timeline. I also really just hated Daisy haha but Jordan is very much obsessed with her so unfortunatly we see a lot of her.
I liked Nick and Jordans relationship, and the extra elements this added to the story and wish this would have been explored a bit further, as well as both Nick/Jordan relationship with Gatsby (honestly Daisy should have just been axed and I would have enjoyed the story a lot more), because this was such a fascinating and interesting relationship and power dynamic.
In conclusion I think this book is perfect for fans of literary books with stunning writing and fans of the original looking for a fresh new twist. Personally I really enjoyed being emersed in the atmosphere and the writing but did not care overmuch for the plot.
This author’s book 'The Empress of Salt and Fortune' was one of my favorite reads of 2020, so I was incredibly excited to see that she had a new book coming out in 2021. I was even MORE excited when I saw that her new book is marketed as ‘a queer, magical retelling of The Great Gatsby through the eyes of a transracial Vietnamese adoptee’ ...like sign me the fuck up, right???!!
I don't have the words to describe this book. All I can really say is that now I know how all of the people at Gatsby’s parties felt, because I was left simply dazzled by this story. Nghi Vo is an incredibly talented writer and her ability to write in such a way that lends a dream-like quality to the story she’s telling is my absolute favorite thing. It’s magic. This book is magic.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this novel!
Rating: 5 stars
I’m so blown away by this truly magical book. I finished it a couple of days ago and I just know this is going to stay with me for a long time. I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did, but right from the start, this story grabbed me and didn’t let go until the last sentence.
I remember reading and loving The Great Gatsby when I was 17, I’ve read a couple of retellings in the past but none of them holds a candle to “The Chosen and the Beautiful”.
Our main character, Jordan, is such a great narrator. She is the perfect combination of self-assured with hints of vulnerability and I was rooting for her throughout.
This is definitely a slower-paced story, it’s under 300 pages but took me around 3 days to finish, partly because I wanted to savour it but also because, in my opinion, it’s best read slowly so you can take everything in.
The only thing I sort of disliked was how underdeveloped the magical element was. But as I read, I realised that it’s more of a background theme, hints of the fantastical here and there, not meant for deeper understanding.
I lost track of the number of times I highlighted whole paragraphs and sentences, I could quote this book all day, the writing is simply breathtaking.
Overall, I loved this so much, it will stay with me for a long time and I would 100% recommend this to people who like historical fiction with diverse characters, Gatsby retellings and books with hints of magic.
This book will give you papercuts. In your heart.
Honestly I’m not even sure where to begin. There are so many ways this text folds and cuts its source material until it unfolds and comes alive just like one of its protagonist’s creations. There are so many levels on which it engages with ideas imperfectly explored in the original and makes them its own. Follows them, knows them, flips them on their head and turns them inside out.
It’s just beautiful.
The only drawbacks are that...the only way I can describe it is that it’s dense, in the way a slightly too large meal is dense but it tastes too good to leave any leftovers. It takes a while to digest.
I also feel like the very last page was not quite the ending I was looking for.
The Chosen and the Beautiful is a stunning reimagining of The Great Gatsby from the perspective of Jordan Baker, a queer Vietnamese adoptee. From the moment the story begins with Jordan and Daisy floating about the Buchanan house in East Egg until the historically impactful end, this book is utterly hypnotic, thoughtful, and engaging. We experience the world through Jordan, the racism, the sexism, the inability for those around her to see her in all her complexities and in all her power. But we also get to witness Jordan's delights, compassion, growth, and queer relationships. Laced with MAGIC and GHOSTS, I'm unsure if I devoured this book or this book devoured me. This should be new required reading. READ THIS BOOK. I'm actually going to go read it again. Right now.
This is a brilliant retelling of The Great Gatsby that keeps all the core themes of the original-- wealth and class disparity, the hollowness of wealth during the 1920's-- and updates them while somehow also creating a world that is very true to the 1920's, and includes the marginalized people the original (and the time period) excluded-- queer people, Asian Americans, immigrants. I can already see people dismissing it when they hear "queer, Asian American, Great Gatsby retelling with magic" as some kind of attempt to make the original more cool and diverse for no reason, but that's ABSOLUTELY not what's happening here. It's a twist on the original that stays true to the story while expanding it beyond any scope the original could have dreamed of. It's a truly amazing book.
I cannot believe this is a debut novel. It’s too good. Nghi Vo deconstructs The Great Gatsby and puts it back together in a truly Picasso-esque way where it’s both more bizarre and more beautiful than the original. Told from Jordan’s perspective, this story is a gin-soaked romp through the lives of characters we already know and (kinda) love, but Jordan’s is a biting and skeptical presence. Vo touches on the queer identities of Jordan, Gatsby, and Nick, and through Jordan’s eyes as an adopted Vietnamese woman, offers insightful commentary on discrimination and xenophobia, while also heightening Fitzgerald’s themes of social stratification and hedonism. And honestly, even if the novel had sucked, the writing was so *chefs kiss* that I would have read it anyway.
I first read The Great Gatsby, as most do, in a high school English course. Teenaged-me enjoyed it for what it was to me then, a tragic and timeless tale of love and loss. Later in life, I found myself having to teach the text to a high school English class. It was then that Gatsby opened up to me in a whole new way, as books have a habit of doing when one re-reads them in a different time and place in their life. I fell in love with the mystic of Jay Gatsby, the futility of his dream, and the commentary on class, corruption, & capitalism that lingers just beneath the surface. With every reading of The Great Gatsby, I found something undiscovered to fall in love with, and despite the flaws of the original, every time I taught the book to my students, they taught me something new about the text. (I won’t deny that many of them didn’t share my wonder with the text, but many of them did.) Their revelations ranged from a contrasting take on characters to a fundamentally different understanding of Fitzgerald’s core message, but they taught me to continually see the text in a new light.
The Chosen and The Beautiful feels like rereading The Great Gatsby in a new light. It is a superb retelling that is in conversation with the original, yet it stands strong as a text in its own right.
Nghi Vo’s retelling, which sticks to the plot of the original story, adds to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s text in a way that feels both fitting and overdue. Themes and issues that are given little attention in The Great Gatsby are given ample time to grow and develop. The viewpoint character of Jordan Baker allows The Chosen and The Beautiful to address themes of race, gender, and sexuality that were mostly absent in the original. Vo does a brilliant job of using dialogue, descriptions, themes, and motifs from the original, but adds her own twist, often magnifying and exposing these ideas. One that stuck out to me was the intersection of violence, money, and power. Jordan’s backstory allows for the opportunity to explore more fully the lives of Daisy and Gatsby, and through these flashbacks the link between violence, money, and power takes form in a way that exposes them for more than just carelessness. The violence in The Chosen and The Beautiful is deliberate. Gatsby, and Daisy are portrayed as inherently violent, each in their own way.
It is instances like these that show that Vo is in conversation with the original text. Towards the end of The Great Gatsby, Nick muses on Tom and Daisy’s violence, writing:
“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retired back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”
This theme of carelessness appears again in the original, and Nick calls Jordan careless and dishonest at one point. Vo picks up on this off-handed comment, giving us the perspective into how Jordan views Nick’s perspective:
“He called me careless because he didn’t have the words to sort out how jealous he was of my money and my freedom and how very few people in the world could act as I did. I never gave him a real answer because the real answer wasn’t one that men got. Men had no idea how careless the women of their set weren’t allowed to be. They laughed at how fussy we were about which cars we got into, and then never wondered about the long stretches of bad road between glittering place and glittering place. It was a kind of darkness that could swallow someone whole, and whoever walked back, shoes in her hand, stocking shredded and calling for help from some dingy payphone, she wouldn’t be the same girl who roared off in that unwise Tourister.”
It is this retelling of the conversation that makes The Chosen and the Beautiful feel both familiar and fresh.
Nghi Vo’s writing is breath-taking. Her writing echoes the poetic style of Fitzgerald, but never feels aloof or preachy. The magical realism adds to the genuine conversation with Fitzgerald’s text, and like a true retelling, this book plays and enhances ideas in the original. As I read The Chosen and The Beautiful, I couldn’t help but smile at all the throwbacks to the original text. These ranged from simple things like the colours that burst from the page with meaning, to the colonial architecture of Tom and Daisy’s mansion. These call-outs to the original are sometimes less overt, such as the demoniac drink which borrows from “the demoniac Finn,” to allusions to the city of Dis from Dante’s Inferno. The Chosen and the Beautiful’s allusions and references enhance the story that is both is a masterful retelling of The Great Gatsby and an exploration of race, gender, class and the American dream.
I have no doubt that The Great Gatsby will continue to be a mainstay in our current cultural zeitgeist. The Chosen and the Beautiful should be part of that zeitgeist.
Thanks to NetGalley for the book to review. This is my first review on NetGalley - apologies for the inevitable mess-ups.
The Greater Gatsby
Magical retelling of The Great Gatsby from the point of view of queer Asian-American Jordan Baker.
It's as great as that sounds.
Good grief, this is excellent. I've always loved <i>The Great Gatsby</i> but when you make it queer and you tell it through the eyes of adopted Asian Jordan Baker, coasting on the fringe of the soulless elite until closeness with Daisy Buchanan brings her into the inner circle, turns out I love it even more. There's a supernatural element that I hadn't expected and I wasn't so keen on in the beginning, but considering the thoughts that I was having about the characters while reading, her Nick and her Gatsby in particular, and the revelations about them that unfold, Vo absolutely pulls off the demonic aspect she introduces. Best of all is her writing style, which is dreamy yet precise - how is that possible? I have no idea but here I am, reveling in the sumptuous with not a word out of place.
Nghi Vo's 'The Chosen and the Beautiful' has taken the story of The Great Gatsby and transformed it into something all the more magical, heartbreaking and terrifying. Following Jordan Baker, the story expands upon Fitzgerald's world in a way that leans into literal fantasy, weaving a New York and a story that is familiar and unfamiliar all at once. The effect is absolutely stunning. Jordan's own story is given new shape too, having her move through the world as a queer, Vietnamese woman in a world that is incredibly white. Jordan constantly floats between spectator and participant, through spaces constantly navigating where she fits in and where she is simply just a guest. I absolutely loved following her evolving relationship with Nick and the bonds they shared. Vo has breathed new life into this story in a really special way and through beautiful prose, creating magic not unlike the magic Jordan and her paper and scissors create throughout the story. This is a book I expect to return to again and again, drawn back into that 1922 summer that barrels towards catastrophe for the chosen and the beautiful of this story.
This reimagining of The Great Gatsby is the magical, dark, queer story I’ve always wanted. Vo writes about the 20s as a romantic time, but one tinged with darkness in the most delicious way. The magic in this story kept sneaking up on me, and I was delighted every time. Though the plot of Gatsby weaves through this book (and therefore you know what’s coming before it does), Vo still manages to make the story feel fresh and unexpected. Highly recommend.
4 stars, a wonderful reimagining of a classic novel
As both a fan of the original Great Gatsby and a fan of up and coming novelist, Nghi Vo, I was eager for this book and please do say that it does not disappoint. Told from Jordan Baker's POV, this novel sets out to do for Daisy Buchanan and Jordan what the original did for Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby and it very much succeeds.
The two big changes are that Jordan is a Vietnamese orphan adopted by the Baker family and that magic is real in this world and both Jordan and Gatsby have it. Simple as these changes are, they open up the classic book in some fascinating ways as Jordan obviously has many more opinions on Tom Buchanan's racism than her original white counterpart did and the magic, while used sparingly, leads to some absolutely marvelous scenes including a personal favorite where Daisy viciously kills a vacuous doppelganger of herself that has been made out of paper and false dreams who was to exist for one night to be the beautiful and obedient wife that Daisy feels trapped into performing as. Where else are you going to find a story where something so intimately revealing and also incisively commenting on the original novel's approach to female characterization? On the writing end, Fitzgerald was one of the all time great prose stylists and Vo isn't quite up to that level but she's no slouch either. Her capacity for mimicking Fitzgerald's style is quite good to the point that for the most part the seams are only visible if you're actively looking for them or are a Fitzgerald fan. I imagine very few people will walk away from this book anything less than impressed by Vo's writing.
My two worries about the book are this: 1) that it hews so close to the original Gatsby that it might be difficult to follow for anyone who hasn't read or reread that book recently and 2) that in sticking so close to the pacing of the original but shifting the story to be more magical, Vo has accidentally created some pacing problems because the old pacing doesn't quite gel with the new darker and more urgent plotting caused by the introduction of magic. I consider these far from book ruining problems but I can easily see other people being frustrated by them.
But those issues aside, the book is both enjoyable and an impressive work of criticism. As both a fantasy fan and a Great Gatsby fan, I believe Vo has woven both together successfully and put her mark on the American classic in a way that helps it to feel even more relevant by drawing out elements that had always been in the original but confronting them head on rather than leaving them as subtext.
The Chosen and the Beautiful is a stunning, atmospheric retelling of The Great Gatsby, and in many ways Nghi Vo tells it far better than F Scott Fitzgerald did.
Those who have read The Great Gatsby will be familiar with the characters however this time our protagonist is Jordan Baker and she is a queer Vietnamese orphan with magical paper-cutting powers. Jordan was so much more interesting than Nick Carraway. She had a very dark and understated sense of humour which I loved.
In addition to race, class, and perception, The Chosen and the Beautiful explores what it meant to be a Vietnamese woman in the 1920s, particularly in the sense of being treated like a novelty or doll, rather than as a person.
There were a few parts that I struggled with. As beautiful as the magical elements were, they did sometimes feel a little out of place. Jordan is obviously very in love with Daisy and this occupies a lot of her thoughts which became a little tedious at times.
I think fans of The Great Gatsby will enjoy The Chosen and The Beautiful and appreciate how the new elements are woven into the heart of the original.
Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book!
An unexpected smash hit of a read. The author deconstructs The Great Gatsby tale and reinvents it for a 21st century audience. I think my students are going to love this!!
I was provided an e-arc via NetGalley.
Let me start by saying I am a sucker for a tragic love story and The Great Gatsby is one of my favorites. When I saw there was a retelling with magical elements and a diverse point-of-view, I had a really good feeling about it.
From page one, I fell into Vo’s writing and was completely swept away and transported to the 1920s. The Chosen and the Beautiful is a close retelling of The Great Gatsby, but it adds so much to the original story. In this version, we follow the point-of-view of a queer, Asian American and what it was like for her growing up in Louisville and life as a New York socialite in the early 1920s. One of my favorite things about this retelling is the added magical elements. Gatsby’s parties always seemed like a dash of magic was involved, but now we get to experience a world in which magic does exist. It’s subtle but spellbinding.
This story unfolds as you read it and may leave you a little unsure of what exactly is going on, but it comes through in the end. I thought the ending reveal was beautiful and it pulled on my heartstrings. The story is beautifully pieced together and keeps you wanting more. It is filled with intrigue, unique magic, mysterious speakeasies, lush atmospheric writing, complicated characters with complicated relationships, and it’s just absolutely captivating.
I could not put this story down and wanted to reread it as soon as I finished it. I think Vo gave us the diverse and magical Gatsby retelling we needed. I think both fans of The Great Gatsby and those unfamiliar with the classic will find many things to love about this retelling.
This book was so beautifully written. It was full of descriptions of a life I could never live, each atmosphere expanded upon until you felt like you were there yourself. It was beautiful and shiny, and it reminded me so much of the Great Gatsby. Which is perfect, because The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo is supposed to be a reinvention and reimagined version of the Great Gatsby, told through the perspective of Jordan Baker as an Asian adopted child. And I’m being honest, I think she outdid Fitzgerald himself. She’s added fantasy elements to the story, and made Jordan queer and so wonderfully also sown in these details of queer culture during the 20’s and how being Vietnamese affects her.
It wasn’t necessarily my thing, though. I’ve never been one to prefer the world and atmosphere of a book to the characters itself, which is a little what this book did. The story is a little slow for my taste, and personally, I didn’t connect well enough to Jordan Baker. She was beautifully written, and I certainly enjoyed learning about her, but I love a book so much more when I can grasp on to a character, main or otherwise so that I’m pulled through the story in their arms.
However, if you prefer the world of the socialites, elegant and chic retelling of the golden 1920’s, then this would most definitely be for you. The prose feels like glitter, or like jewelry. It’s so lyrical and well written, and it feels like opening up a chest of treasures, queer stories and stolen secrets. And magic!! Oh my goodness the wonderful details of magic in there!! The story also expands a lot on her friendship with Daisy, which I just adored. Gatsby feels so different, but it’s also barely changed at all!
I don’t know how she manages to stay true to the book, and yet make it more ethereal than it was to begin with.
This book is supposed to be Nghi Vo’s debut, and what a wonderful debut it is. Any fan of Great Gatsby would love this, I’m sure. And I know that I’ll leave this story forever remembering Jordan Baker as East Asian and queer from now on, so perfect her portrayal of this character was. This book comes out June 1st 2021, and I hope you all read it!! It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I’m so glad I for to read this.
Stunning, heartbreaking, beautifully written in every possible way. Nghi Vo took a classic that is, in my humble opinion, rather dry, and made it as fantastical as a fever dream. I will be a Nghi Vo reader as long as she is putting out stories, and I am so excited to add this book to a list of favorites that I will go back to time and time again.
Please find my full blog review in the attached link!
Thank you to NetGalley and specifically Lauren at tordotcom for the opportunity to read and review early.
I have to say... I went in slightly hesitant. The Great Gatsby is my favourite classic and I was worried about it not being done justice even though getting Jordan’s point of view excited me.
There was no need to worry. This was done beautifully. It was not fully spot on but it didn’t need to be. The world of Gatsby was caught perfectly with bits of reality placed ever so carefully through the narrative to ground us in what the 1920s really looked like for people of different ethnicities. At first I wondered what the point of the magic system and the supernatural was but by the end I was screaming out in gleeful surprise at how it all tied together.
All in all, I want to see how Jordan gets on after the events of this book but it has caught me in its trap and made for a very pleasant read.
A great gatsby retelling that is queer with an Asian main lead, need I say more?!
It was so atmospheric and fills so many gaps and just did such a good job with this retelling. We get a new side to characters and it was just so lyrically written.
This was a great retelling, its almost the same story, but told by the perspective of Jordan Baker, and Asian American girl and Daisy's friend.
Love this new perspective; the story feels more enchanted and atmospheric, the characters are more in-depth and you sympathize with them, also there is magic, quite subtle, like magical realism and very interesting.
Jordan is an amazing POV; she was adopted by a rich family and had a unique place in the high society, she can see what other people can see.
The story also addresses more issues that were left in the original text, such as racism and queer characters. You don't need to read the original story to understand this. This was almost the same story with a plus, more diverse and more explanations.
CW- abortion, cheating, self harm, internalized homophobia, car accident, death
The Chosen and the Beautiful is a Great Gatsby retelling with a magical twist. It expands on the white, straight perspective of the original and shows an alternate view.
The reason I first was drawn to his book was the cover. That cover is just so gorgeous. The colors work so well together and the artists work is amazing. However, this book is so much more than just the beautiful cover. I would even consider it better than the original Great Gatsby.
The magical realism that was included was wonderful. It helped to enrich this already beautiful world of glitz and glamour, and it left you with a truly awestruck feeling.
I also loved the characters. The characters were pretty similar to the original, but I loved learning more about Jordan, and I loved the new perspective that we got of the original tale.
Overall, I recommend this book to fans of The Night Circus and for anybody who has ever thought about reading The Great Gatsby, even without have read the original.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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