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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (edition 2013)

by Therese Anne Fowler

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455None22,768 (3.79)23
Member:Beamis12
Title:Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Authors:Therese Anne Fowler
Info:St. Martin's Press (2013), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

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(I received an e-copy of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald courtesy of NetGalley.)

I am such a huge fan of The Fitzgeralds. I think my fascination for the jazz age goes hand-in-hand with my love for Hollywood and vintage glamour. Zelda and Scott were the "it" couple. While, if they were around today, they may be on the covers of the trashy tabloids - their exploits are fun and exciting and dramatic - and make for a wonderful story.

But there is more to their story than the flashy parties and the extravagant salons, and all of the famous friends. Really, what we have, is a pair of people both brilliant and deeply troubled. They strive for success (and achieve it), but they must also live with depression, and failures.

Therese Anne Fowler (who has been on my "must read" list forever!) paints a portrait of this couple that is relatable, and touching, and heart-wrenching. Zelda, a fiercely beautiful and outgoing young woman, who is swept into Scott's exciting life. When Zelda meets Scott, he is too confident and too silly for her parents to approve of the match. Despite her family's misgivings, Zelda marries Scott. This decision ultimately shapes the rest of her life.

Fowler describes the luxurious, booze-fueled early days of the Fitzgerald marriage in such charming details that I dreamed of tagging along. I loved reading these accounts from Zelda's perspective, as she makes herself over into the flapper of Scott's stories. The public waits on their every action and every word.

As the years pass and the Fitzgerald's marriage is challenged by financial hardships, emotional breakdowns, and the presence of one well-written (if infuriating!) Ernest Hemingway, Fowler showcases a marriage that struggles, despite the odds. There is so much emotion in these pages. I couldn't put them down. ( )
  thereaderscommute | Apr 13, 2014 |
(I received an e-copy of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald courtesy of NetGalley.)

I am such a huge fan of The Fitzgeralds. I think my fascination for the jazz age goes hand-in-hand with my love for Hollywood and vintage glamour. Zelda and Scott were the "it" couple. While, if they were around today, they may be on the covers of the trashy tabloids - their exploits are fun and exciting and dramatic - and make for a wonderful story.

But there is more to their story than the flashy parties and the extravagant salons, and all of the famous friends. Really, what we have, is a pair of people both brilliant and deeply troubled. They strive for success (and achieve it), but they must also live with depression, and failures.

Therese Anne Fowler (who has been on my "must read" list forever!) paints a portrait of this couple that is relatable, and touching, and heart-wrenching. Zelda, a fiercely beautiful and outgoing young woman, who is swept into Scott's exciting life. When Zelda meets Scott, he is too confident and too silly for her parents to approve of the match. Despite her family's misgivings, Zelda marries Scott. This decision ultimately shapes the rest of her life.

Fowler describes the luxurious, booze-fueled early days of the Fitzgerald marriage in such charming details that I dreamed of tagging along. I loved reading these accounts from Zelda's perspective, as she makes herself over into the flapper of Scott's stories. The public waits on their every action and every word.

As the years pass and the Fitzgerald's marriage is challenged by financial hardships, emotional breakdowns, and the presence of one well-written (if infuriating!) Ernest Hemingway, Fowler showcases a marriage that struggles, despite the odds. There is so much emotion in these pages. I couldn't put them down. ( )
  thereaderscommute | Apr 13, 2014 |
Cross-posted on http://off-the-book.org

"I don't want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally."

Many novels explore F. Scott Fitzgerald and his legacy as a "great American writer." Therese Anne Fowler's Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald flips that around and focuses on his much maligned wife, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.

F. Scott Fitzgerald met Zelda, a beautiful and vivacious Southern belle, while stationed in Alabama. Zelda was a "bad girl," F. Scott was a Princeton drop out. Together, they were the free-wheeling It-couple dancing through life in 1920's NYC, Paris, and Long Island.

The Fitzgeralds' lives weren't all glittering jewels, Charleston nights and charm - it was also recklessness, madness, alcoholism.Their relationship was a complicated one, as all relationships are.

Too often, though, Fowler resorts to framing Zelda as the victim of Scott's weak-willed and rapacious drinking. She quibbles throughout the novel, a superficial and fitful character. Despite Fowler's attempts to dispel the notion that Zelda was shallow and insane, she doesn't do a very good job. While I've always been sympathetic toward Zelda - especially since many women who were strong-minded and independent were often shut away against their wills in insane asylums - I just couldn't stand her in this novel. Scott was even worse - but at least I felt that his characterization was closer to the mark. I'm always wary when any author or biographer puts a public figure on a pedestal.

However, this is an eminently readable novel. I devoured it in days, holding on to imagery of glitzy ballrooms, the romance of the French riviera, the glamour of marriage to a famous author. Those were the same things that seduced Zelda and Scott into the debt, drinking, and mental illness that would be their undoing.

Three stars go to this fun, light-hearted novel. Even though it doesn't quite delve into what really made the Fitzgeralds tick, and certainly has its weaknesses, it delivers entertainment in spades. ( )
  amanda.mustafic | Jan 24, 2014 |
A nice imagining of Zelda's life as Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald. ( )
  DrApple | Dec 18, 2013 |
This is a fictionalized account of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald's life from the age of 15 to when F. SCott Fitzgerald died. Ms Fowler has recreated the world of the American South after WWI and the era of the flapper in a wonderfully descriptive, emotional, and enveloping novel. Her narration follows Zelda as she transforms from a small-town tomboy into an icon of a by-gone era and it is astonishing. Within the pages of this novel is everything from hope, aspirations, tragedy, love, adventure, drunkenness, and of course, death. Using thorough research on the era and participants, as well as Zelda's own writings, Fowler has created a novel that is equally mesmerizing as Paula McLain's The Paris Wife. I would highly recommend this account to anyone I know and especially those who love the writers of this era. ( )
  JEB5 | Nov 22, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Happily, happily foreverafterward - the best we could.
- Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
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Prologue: Dear Scott, The Love of the Last Tycoon is a great title for your novel.
Chapter I: Picture a late June morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume - same as I would wear that evening.
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Book description
Picture a late-May morning in 1918, a time when Montgomery wore her prettiest spring dress and finest floral perfume—same as I would wear that evening…

Thus begins the story of beautiful, reckless, seventeen-year-old Zelda Sayre on the day she meets Lieutenant Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald at a country club dance. Fitzgerald isn’t rich or settled; no one knows his people; and he wants, of all things, to be a writer in New York. No matter how wildly in love they may be, Zelda’s father firmly opposes the match. But when Scott finally sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, Zelda defies her parents to board a train to New York and marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Life is a sudden whirl of glamour and excitement: Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his beautiful, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, trades in her provincial finery for daring dresses, and plunges into the endless party that welcomes the darlings of the literary world to New York, then Paris and the French Riviera.

It is the Jazz Age, when everything seems new and possible—except that dazzling success does not always last. Surrounded by a thrilling array of magnificent hosts and mercurial geniuses—including Sara and Gerald Murphy, Gertrude Stein, and the great and terrible Ernest Hemingway—Zelda and Scott find the future both grander and stranger than they could have ever imagined.
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A tale inspired by the marriage of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald follows their union in defiance of her father's opposition and her abandonment of the provincial finery of her upbringing in favor of a scandalous flapper identity that gains her entry into the literary party scenes of New York, Paris and the French Riviera.… (more)

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