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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (edition 2013)

by Therese Anne Fowler

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8176911,139 (3.79)40
Member:pjhess
Title:Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Authors:Therese Anne Fowler
Info:St. Martin's Press (2013), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

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Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
"utterly engrossing" - for once I agree with the cover endorsements. Although a fictional account it captures Zelda's voice rather than her husbands. They both drank a lot and partied hard! ( )
  siri51 | Aug 21, 2016 |
I didn't like these people - they were brash and focused on alcohol and celebrity, the expectations of 1920s society, and a disrespect for women - yet there was a humanity in Zelda herself as expressed in the book that kept me reading on - she needed some real counseling, some good bipolar meds, and the opportunity to dance professionally - yet, of course, in the 1920s none of that happened and we therefore saw someone struggling to live in a world that she didn't fit into - it was heartbreaking to watch the dance of intimacy and love between Zelda and Scott destroy them both - ( )
  njinthesun | Aug 8, 2016 |
I knew very little about Zelda Fitzgerald before I read this book, but by the time I finished it I had been moved by her passionate life. The reader begins to get to know her as a teenager in Montgomery, Alabama, when she is dancing ballet and defying the restrictions her parents place upon her. When she meets Scott Fitzgerald, a young army Lieutenant, she falls head over heels for the dashing young man with dreams of becoming a novelist. She eventually runs off to New York to marry him--against the advice of her father--and they begin their legendary adventures as one of the elite couples of the Jazz age. During the ups and downs of their marriage, Zelda encounters many stimulating muses--in Scott himself, and then in the many creative people they meet . She paints and writes and tends to their daughter Scottie--but her husband's drinking and controlling personality creates a lot of friction in their home. Scott is perhaps just a product of his times, but the way the author portrays his attempts to mold Zelda into a dutiful, supportive wife grates against modern feminist views, some of which are beginning to emerge at the time. Here Zelda's mental illness seems to be partly that she would not make Scott the center of her world, or give up her own literary and artistic dreams. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially if they enjoy seeing it through the eyes of a woman rather than that of a man. And the audiobook version is marvelously done, the voice of the narrator-who does a fine southern accent-truly made it seem as if Zelda was telling the story herself. ( )
  debs4jc | Jun 19, 2016 |
This fictional account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life with F. Scott is told from her viewpoint and slants heavily in her favor and against Scott. Zelda seems to have been born about 70 years too early, as she chafed under the constraints that women dealt with and accepted as a matter of course before feminism became popular. Her husband blamed her for any problems he had - alcoholism, writer's block, infidelities, money - because she did not conform to the standards of the day for a wife and mother - keeping a "secure hearth" and subjugating all thoughts, desires and needs to that of the husband. Zelda suffered from mental illness which further fueled Scott's resentment of her. Scott comes off as an extraordinary jerk (I'd like to use a stronger word) - and at the end when he died, I thought "good riddance." Nevertheless, Zelda truly loved him and could never seem to cut the ties, unfortunately for her. This book presents an interesting perspective on these two very famous personalities. ( )
1 vote flourgirl49 | May 25, 2016 |
Therese Anne Fowler takes the real-life love story of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald and fictionalizes it in this account, giving greater emphasis and creditability to Zelda's own voice.

While I found the book a bit slow to get into personally, by about a third of the way in, I didn't want to put it down. Zelda is an interesting, if conflicted, character and her life with "Scott" throws her in the path of many other well-known celebrities of their day including Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and a plethora of other artists, literati, and Hollywood types who each serve to make the story even more entertaining. And reading about the dysfunctional relationship between Zelda and Scott was like watching a train wreck -- you know you really shouldn't, but you can't quite keep your curiosity at bay.

Fowler's writing style is a good fit for this type of book. It is not overly simplistic nor does it try to knock your over the head with its "literariness." There's a liberal dosing of foreshadowing and metaphors, but it's not an overly symbolic, heavy read. Despite its length, it could be read fairly quickly and easily while still containing enough intriguing tidbits for the reader to look up more about later as well as providing fodder for discussion.

My edition included some additional reader information like an author interview and discussion questions, which are handy for book groups. Overall, I'm glad to have read this book and ended up learning quite a bit more about the Fitzgeralds and their circle of acquaintance as a result. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Apr 22, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Happily, happily foreverafterward - the best we could.
- Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?

—T.S. Eliot
Dedication
Once again

To

Zelda
First words
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.
Quotations
Though I suspect he has someone out there, he writes to me all the time, and always ends his letters, With dearest love... My letters to him are signed, Devotedly... Even now, when we haven’t shared an address in six years, when he’s probably shining his light on some adoring girl who surely thinks she has saved him, we’re both telling it true. This is what we’ve got at the moment, who we are. It’s not nearly what we once had--the good. I mean--but it’s also not what we once had, meaning the bad.
I rested my head against his shoulder and we watched the sun set, just like you might see in the movies. We’d worked hard to create this lovely, new domestic bliss, and before Gatsby’s publication, right up until the book was printed and put into the hands of both the reading and the reviewing public, it looked as if we might actually succeed. Wait: if I leave it at that, it’ll sound like the novel’s disappointing performance is to blame for the disaster we made of our lives, and that’s not really so. Ernest Hemingway is to blame.
Trouble has lots of forms. There’s financial trouble and marital trouble, there’s trouble with friends and trouble with landlords and trouble with liquor and trouble with the law. Every sort of trouble I can think of, we’ve tried it out--become expert at some of it, even, so much so that I’ve come to wonder whether artists in particular seek out hard times the way flowers turn their faces toward the sun.
Scott and I had a row last weekend and haven’t spoken since--but as we are going to Sylvia Beach’s dinner for James Joyce tonight, I’ll once again have to put on my Mrs. F. Scott costume and try to play nice with him and the other children. Whose life is this, anyway? Only when I’m sweating rivers perfecting my plies in the studio do I feel like a whole and real person.
Scott spent the next several days drafting a story he called ‘The Rich Boy,’ then set it aside and returned to his routine of having cocktails with those very same types.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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