The Chosen and The Beautiful By Nghi Vo is ravishing, seductive and so compelling you can’t put it down. Revealing to Gatsby’s story through Jordan Baker and making it Jordan’s story, as a queer Vietnamese adoptee. It was a stroke of absolute brilliance. Since you feel for her, regardless of how horrible she was at the start.
The story is narrated by an Asian bisexual girl, “Jordan Baker”. She was adopted by a rich white family. This novel presents the characters as you’ve never seen them before. Jordan has a mystery and she can do magic. Gatsby’s unexpected wealth is explained by a deal with Satan and his ferocious craving threatens to devour everyone, in an attempt to get what he needs. Nick is at the same time more human and genuine than the original and less so. Tom is as selfish as ever, and Daisy, is a character who is still caught by her decisions and the expectations of society. The characters love and use and dispose of one another with reckless abandon.
The story is set against the backdrop of the 1920s and flappers. The portrayal of Gatsby’s parties and the garments everybody wears will blow your mind. The manner in which Jordan and some other characters can cut something out of paper and bring it to life inspires a sense of wonder.
I adored the infernal twist on the illegal industry and truly liked the manner in which obsession was explored. It went a long way beyond only two individuals in this telling and turned out to be more of a spiral of obsession instead, with one generally drawn unavoidably toward another until all were essentially connected. Now and again, the book reads like a fever dream and disoriented, you keep thinking about whether that is real or if it’s the character being influenced.
The Chosen and The Beautiful By Nghi Vo also delves into deeper topics. Topics such as the racism Jordan faces as the only Asian in her wealthy circles. The hype on this novel is truly well-deserved. I loved this and by me, it is highly recommended, and can’t wait to read more from Nghi Vo.
Also Read: Her Last Breath: By Hilary Davidson