Audible Launches Investigative Podcast About The Origins Of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby Character

Audible is launching an investigative podcast series about the origins of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic character Jay Gatsby, subject of classic novel The Great Gatsby.

American Dreamer: Who Was Jay Gatsby? is led by a journalist Joe Nocera (Agatha Christie and the Dandelion Poisoner) and follows the little known story of Max Gerlach, a German immigrant, small-time crook and bootlegger who moved to America in the early 1900s in pursuit of the American Dream. Fast forward to the 1950s when a Fitzgerald renaissance takes hold and Gerlach claimed to be the inspiration behind the infamous Jay Gatsby.

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Set against the backdrop of World War I, Prohibition, and The Great Depression, the series follows Gerlach’s life and examines evidence that suggests he may have been telling the truth, beginning with a mysterious note written by Gerlach to Fitzgerald in 1923.

According to producers, the podcast confirms for the first time ties the real-life Gatsby had to criminal kingpin Arnold Rothstein. The relationship between Gatsby and the fictional gangster Meyer Wolfsheim has long been held as one of the novel’s main connections to reality.

Producer on the eight-part series, which launches this week, is Poppy Damon who reteams with Nocera after their Audible podcast Agatha Christie and the Dandelion Poisoner.

Celebrated novel The Great Gatsby has been adapted into movies starring Robert Redford and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nocera said: “I thought I knew a lot about F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Great Gatsby, but working on this podcast was a revelation—it’s amazing how many unexpected plot twists Poppy and I discovered, and the surprising parallels between Max Gerlach’s life and that of the fictional Jay Gatsby. It was also, as usual, a pleasure working with the team at Blanchard House.”

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