By Michelle Bondesen
For a relatively short book, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has accumulated a sizable amount of scholarship that looks into the influences behind this piece of literature. The novel has also been brought to life in numerous films and inspired many other novels.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Carraway stumbles into the lives of the rich during the turbulent Roaring Twenties, thanks to his mysterious wealthy neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan, then lost her. With his new wealth, he is ready to risk everything to woo her back.
On the Screen
Scott Fitzgerald's novel has been adapted numerous times into movies.
The Great Gatsby (1926 film), a silent film starring Warner Baxter and Lois Wilson, considered to be lost.
The Great Gatsby (1949 film), starring Alan Ladd and Betty Field.
The Great Gatsby (1974 film), starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
The Great Gatsby (2000 film), a TV film starring Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino, and Paul Rudd.
The Great Gatsby (2013 film), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
If you're looking for a similar title, these novels embrace the feel of the 1920s.
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
In the summer of 1922, married Cora Carlisle chaperones a young Louise Brooks, the soon-to-be silent film star, on a trip to New York. While away from home, Cora searches for her birth mother and takes some time to process her husband’s secret.
China Dolls by Lisa See
Though set a bit later than most of the novels on this list, the popularity of the nightclub scene, which took off after the repeal of Prohibition, gives the same feel of the heady times in speakeasies. Grace, Helen, and Ruby meet and become instant friends while auditioning as showgirls at the Forbidden City, a Chinese nightclub and cabaret in San Francisco. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. The girls soon discover that they each carry secrets that will shake one another to the core.
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine
This reimagining of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses" fairytale traces the story of a family of flappers who work in a 1920s speakeasy until their suspicious father decides to marry them off, prompting a confrontation with a bootlegger from the eldest sister's past.
The Jewel Box by Anna Davis
London, 1927. Diamond Sharp writes a racy newspaper column, using a fake name to conceal her identity. When she meets two charismatic American men who are bitter enemies, her life is turned upside down. She is drawn to both of them but isn't sure whom she can trust. As she becomes increasingly involved with both, Diamond begins to uncover a nest of secrets that puts both her heart and her reputation at risk.
Josephine Baker's Last Dance by Sherry Jones
Josephine Baker was born in 1906 in St. Louis. Escaping domestic abuse and racism in America, she travelled to Paris, where she gained fame and wealth in the 1920s. When WWII arrived, she joined the French Resistance as a spy. A fictionalized biography as told through Josephine Baker’s eyes.
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
Alice "Nobody" James, born of Welsh and Italian immigrant parents, escapes her life in New York where she was involved with the Mafia. Hopping on a train with a bullet wound in her side, she meets African American train porter, Max, who guides her to the Paragon Hotel in Portland, Oregon.
Romance in Marseille by Claude McKay
A book set in the 1920s that was actually written in the 1920s. Harlem Renaissance writer Claude McKay wrote of life in the diverse Vieux Port of Marseille at the height of the Jazz Age in France. His story traces the adventures of a rowdy troupe of dockworkers, prostitutes, and political organizers--collectively straight and queer, disabled and able-bodied, African, European, Caribbean, and American.
Silent Murders by Mary Miley
Former vaudeville actress turned Hollywood insider Jessie Beckett is working as a script girl when she receives a dream assignment: temporary assistant to swashbuckling legend Douglas Fairbanks. Her new position gets her invited to a party at director Bruno Heilmann’s home. But the following day, Jessie learns that both an old friend and Bruno Heilmann were brutally murdered.
The Strivers' Row Spy by Jason Overstreet
Sidney Temple has graduated college, impulsively married independent artist Loretta, and been chosen by J. Edgar Hoover to be the FBI's first African American agent. The higher Sidney and Loretta climb in Harlem's most influential and glamorous circles, the more dangerous the stakes. Temple will have to choose his loyalties as he gets deeper in his multiple covers as a spy.
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
A tale based on the real-life inspirations for Fitzgerald's "Tender Is the Night” finds expats Sara and Gerald Murphy sharing freewheeling days, hosting parties, and hiding heartbreaking secrets on the 1920s French Riviera.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler
A tale inspired by the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald follows their union in defiance of her father's opposition and her abandonment of the provincial finery of her upbringing in favor of a scandalous flapper identity that gains her entry into the literary party scenes of New York City, Paris, and the French Riviera.
Learn more about the complicated lives of F. Scott and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, their works, and the 1920s.