It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced — or seemed to face — the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
Normally when I visit my town’s public library, I deposit the last three books I took and take another three, not because I’m obsessed with this number: it is simply the maximum number of books readers are allowed to take at a time. Since I had been a long time without reading, being busy with my first academic year’s exams, most of the choices were casual. Last time, together with The Buddha in the Attic, I took this novel and it was a surprise to me that it treated a reality so near (same period and nation) and at the same time so far from the previous reading. The Great Gatsby was published in 1925 and has since then raised a large consensus; the Modern Library, an American publishing company, named it the second best English-language novel of the 20th century….well, that’s a better recommendation than anything I could write, but for all it ‘s worth, if you haven’t read The great Gatsby, this could be a good time to pay an extra visit to your local library.