A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Book - 2013 | 1st ed. --
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"When I saw that Amazon Prime was unveiling its original pilot for Z , a biographical series based on Therese Anne Fowler's novel about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, I raised a wary eyebrow. . . But I was wrong, oh me of little faith. . . [I]t's an enveloping period piece, perfectly cast, and I would like to see the pilot green-lighted into a series so that we can see this romance go up like a rocket with one loud champagne pop and strew debris across mansion lawns and luxury hotel lobbies in its transcontinental path." --Vanity Fair

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer...and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel--and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera--where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous--sometimes infamous--husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott's, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler's New York Times bestseller brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2013.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9781250028655
Branch Call Number: FIC Fowle
Characteristics: 375 p.


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Aug 01, 2019

Wow. This is a fictional biography and the author did an amazing job of bringing Zelda to life. She was extremely talented in her own rite and it's easy to think that the Fitzgerald's were ill-suited to each other.

The plain fact is they were both emotionally unstable people who fed on the drama they created individually and together. So much talent wasted from them both because of addiction, insecurities and mental illness on both sides.

Zelda was born too early; what she could have achieved if only she had not been obliged to follow the conventions of her time. I wonder if she had been born 50 years later how much she could have achieved.

This novel seeks not blame either of the Fitzgerald's for their disaster of a marriage and the ruin of at least two lives, but to simply add information to the age old question; Did Zelda ruin Scott's career or did Scott drive Zelda insane. The answers are yes.

Ernest Hemingway is also to blame for much of their troubles and I believe every story and naughty tid-bit told about him. He was a real s.o.b. and the instigator to the unraveling of the Fitzgerald's marriage. He wrought havoc in their lives and when he was satisfied with the damage he did, he ghosted them. Hemingway was more at fault for Scott's ruin than Zelda ever was.

Whether you're a FSF fan or not, this is a delightful novel and I for one am curious to seek out some of Zelda's own published writings to decide for myself.

" As it is in the South, in New York City the buildings have names. And as it is in Society, some names carry more import than others. Our destination for George Jean Nathan's cocktail party was a high-society building named the Royalton, which was a hotel and a residence, both." "Pound led us to the bar. A dark-haired mustached man wearing what appeared to be two thick, gray sweaters was saying goodbye to a pair of women I'd later know as Duff and Kitty. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, same as me, strikingly attractive, his face suntanned--from skiing, we'd learn--his hair mussed and curling onto his forehead, his dark eyes keen and brooding." " ' Critics are all a bunch of goddamned eunuchs,' said Hemingway." " ....poor Hadley, arriving at Villa America with only Bumby whole everyone knew that Hemingway, in Madrid for the moment, was carrying on with Pauline-----though we weren't certain yet whether Hadley knew." Ms. Fowler has written a truly evocative novel.

Vero_biblio Oct 16, 2018

She once said ''Experience teaches you how to do things you never want to do again''. Discover the woman behind her giant of a husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

DBRL_ReginaF Jun 21, 2018

I love Zelda Fitzgerald so much more than I hate F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wonder what she could have done if she had been allowed to do so.

May 26, 2017

Such a provoking book. I couldn't stop reading, and once I finally got to the end I wanted to learn more about this destructive couple. I fell in love with Zelda and began to dislike Scott; it's such an enthralling work.

Nov 26, 2015

"In that alternative world, there might be no Paradise, no Gatsby, none of the hundred or so published stories that readers so love."

With these words, Zelda contemplates what might have been had she not married Fitzgerald.
True or egotistical?
Perhaps we may not have known Gatsby or Paradise but would Fitzgerald have had no stories in him at all or other equally wonderful (or better) stories in him without Zelda?
Who's to say how much a person influences another's life for either the good or the bad?

I find books of this era and this circle of artistic, talented young Americans uneven and hard to like or dislike. It must have been an exciting, fascinating time and yet it was a time of such indulgence and evading of responsibility that it also makes for a very superficial, frivolous time. I enjoy the excitement of the times; I am repelled by the indulgence and "woe is me" attitude.
All in all, the story of Zelda and Fitgerald is a sad one. These two brought out the worst in each other.

LPL_KateG Aug 31, 2015

The "Last Wednesday Book Club" at LPL read Z last month! It was a pretty cute story, and entertaining, but also difficult at times to discern how much was fact vs. fabrication. Great for readers who enjoy novels based on real lives!

dairyqueen Feb 10, 2015

In the spirit of "Loving Frank" and "The Paris Wife" Therese Fowler shines a light on Zelda instead of her more famous husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. The lifestyle they lead is fascinating.

Cynthia_N Jan 10, 2015

What a great read!! Although this is a work of fiction, it reads like an memoir. I picked up the book because of the Fitzgerald's mention in the 2014 All Pueblo Reads The Paris Wife and I'm so glad that I did.

lbarkema Sep 21, 2014

This novel didn't blow me away but it is always interesting to read these fictional accounts of famous wives, and this was no different.

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