the consoling proximity of millionaires

p. 10:

I had a view of the water, a partial view of my neighbor’s lawn and the consoling proximity of millionaires

Nick lives in a little cottage wedged in between colossal mansion properties. It’s an eyesore, but small enough to be overlooked.

Some people can’t stand to be around success if they’re not as successful. Displays of vast wealth curdle their souls into shriveled envy. Fitzgerald wasn’t always rich, but he always thrived on simply being in the presence of moneyed aristocracy, it made him feel more whole even as he envied their birthright. It’s an odd and very interesting reaction to wealth. Most people either view incredible wealth as impractically out of reach, and so not worth troubling about – or outrageously unfair, as if any reasonable notion of fairness promised all of us the same financial station in life. Fitzgerald seemed to believe that being around wealth was a warm blanket of comfort in itself, independent of whether he’d ever belong in that stratosphere.

This page also introduces Tom Buchanan, as the former college star athlete who reached “such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything else savours of anti-climax” – poor Tom would “drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.” A perfect portrait of the jock after his glory days are far behind him.

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