The Pursued and the Pursuing
by AJ Odasso
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Pub Date 28 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 20 Aug 2021
DartFrog Books, DartFrog Blue
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby ends after Jay Gatsby is shot and killed for a hit and run that he did not commit, as well as for his attempts to recapture the past. However, while the bullet’s aim is still true, The Pursued and the Pursuing explores what might have been had it left Gatsby with another chance at happiness. Find it he does, although not in the arms of Daisy Buchanan. As Gatsby travels the world with Nick Carraway, his friend and narrator, he sheds wealth, performance, and glamor in favor of honesty, intimacy, and love.
When Daisy writes to Nick a decade after Gatsby’s brush with death, her frenzied reentrance into their lives threatens to stir up old grudges and longings, but the biggest surprise she brings is her daughter. At thirteen, Pam Buchanan is a queer, bookish girl who feels out of place as her parents try to steer her toward their standards of normalcy. Fortunately, Nick and Gatsby are more than familiar with the perils of being molded by others’ expectations.
A tale of chosen family, queer love, and a glitzy party or two, The Pursued and the Pursuing reimagines Fitzgerald’s beloved characters and celebrates those with courage to live in the present.
"Intimate, tender, and fully realized in its domestic and historical details, The Pursued and the Pursuing is a lush and lived-in novel with an eerily Fitzgeraldian ring to its prose."
—Lara Elena Donnelly, author of The Amberlough Dossier
“In this wild and wonderful queering of The Great Gatsby, AJ Odasso leaves no stone unturned, upping the ante for retellings, and reveals that sometimes what glitters really is gold."
—Christopher Barzak, author of One for Sorrow
Average rating from 37 members
Thank you to netgalley, AJ Odasso, and publishers, for gifting me with an early access e-copy in exchange for my honest unfiltered review.
First things first I've got to say WHEW! The Pursued and the Pursuing is one fantastically odd and charming ride. As a lover of the The Great Gatsby as soon as I read the synopsis of this book I knew I HAD to read it; What I didn't know, however, was if I'd be satisfied with the narrative as its a new writer picking up and running with the history of Fitzgerald's masterpiece. Now that I'm finished I can honestly say I am beyond in love with this alternate story.
AJ Odasso has given us the opportunity to peak in to one possible version of the rest of Gatsby's existence, had he he not succumbed to death. For me the Pursued and the Pursuing started off a little clunky which, to be honest, frightened me. It was not, however, very long before I found myself entirely immersed in the story, scrolling through the pages as fast as my eyes would allow me to read.
This is a beautiful, unique, charming story set in the 1930's told with historical accuracy and a keen knowledge of what life must have been like when same sex couples tried to simply live their lives back then. This story also gives us the chance to become acquainted with the Gatsby we all hoped was hiding underneath the original character. He sheds his fortune, his epic lifestyle, his reputation and learns humility, respect, how to trust, and how to love another whole heartedly, as well as how to love himself. When Daisy interjects herself in Jay and Nicks life again to inquire about her daughter we see both men mature beyond their own solid relationship and create a healthy, functioning and most importantly happy family.
This is "fan fiction" or re-telling at its finest. AJ Odasso has given us a lovely alternative to the continuation of The Great Gatsby.
Highly Highly recommended for fans of The Great Gatsby, though The Pursued and the Pursuing is good enough to stand alone if you've never read it's inspiration. This does come with a NSFW warning however, so if this bothers you this book may not be for you, which would be a shame as it's beyond worth it.
I did a quick re-read of The Great Gatsby before I read this to remind me of what happened. Can there be such a thing as a spoiler alert for a classic book? Jay Gatsby died and his many hangers on, who lived for the debauchery and hedonism of his parties, did not give a flying fuck about him.
Only Nick cared. Even Daisy Buchanan, the object of Jay’s love didn’t care and she let him down in the worst possible way. How could she?
The Pursued and The Pursuing picks up the story where Jay is found shot and it flips the ending. Jay is alive. AJ Odasso brings back the characters and puts them straight back into the story like he turned back the clock.
Nick and Jay make their own way in the world, relying on each other without the trappings of parties and socialising. Those people were no longer needed. Daisy does re-appear but she is no longer the sweet darling and the object of Jay’s affection. Her amazingly funny and delightful daughter Pam becomes the object of Jay and Nick’s affection instead. She’s the new darling. The dear heart.
I’m not a Gatsby die hard so this book was a good read for me. I think the re-read before hand definitely helped because it made me so happy about the turn of events that brought Jay back, he didn’t deserve that tragic ending. I wanted to see him full of life and love. Nicky so clearly, in The Great Gatsby, had this profound love of Jay that it felt a damn shame not to play on how that might progress.
Made me want to write a fan fiction and bring Tess Durbeyfield back to life. Now there’s a thought.
this was an absolute delight. like, i had my fears going into this book (which i think is pretty normal for gatsby fans), but boy, did i end up loving this
if you loved the great gatsby and you want nick to find all the love and happiness he deserves then this is the book for you!
AJ Odasso is no Fitzgerald but the great thing was that they weren't really trying to be Fitzgerald either? they did mimic a Fitzgeraldesque voice (Fitzgeraldian? Fitzgeraldish? no one knows) and nick also felt fairly authentic but it also felt like a seperate entity. a do-over with different strengths if i might say so. and i feel like that's a good way of writing something based on a famous and well-loved story. like, your audience clearly reads the book bc they loved the original but they also want somehing kinda new? and this books delivered exactly that
also? nick carraway is still my absolute favorite. and he got so much love in this!! so much happiness!!
(as always shoutout to netgalley for the ARC, you guys, this book made me really happy)
*** Special thanks to NetGalley and Dartfrogs Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review***
This was a very interesting take on a continuation of The Great Gatsby. The writing was very well done and many times was able to impress me with the similarties I found in comparission to TGG.
The characters were complex and portrayed in a way that were mostly believable, I especially found this author's portrayal of Nick to be head on.
My biggest complaits are that this author tended to do a lot of telling and not showing. While it was not exsessive, I was not expecting it (especially in some NSFW scenes). In addition, I had a hard time believeing a lot of the choices that the author made in regards to Gatsby's character at the beginning novel. It was hard for me to believe that Gatsby would leave everything behind so quickly and jump into a new relationship. I wish that there had been more build up of a relationship between Nick and Gatsby.
Overall, this was a fantastic retelling/continuation (of sorts) about TGG and I would recommend it.
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