Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
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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 brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
but a good one—Scribner’s—is considering it this very minute.” “Writing is a good pastime, a sign of an active mind—but it’s no way to earn a living. What does he mean to do as a profession?” “Writing books can be a profession,” I said, even though I wasn’t certain this was so. The only people I’d ever heard of doing it were very famous, and already dead. I said, “Charles Dickens—he did it. And Henry James.” Daddy’s sour expression was his response. Tootsie gave me a sympathetic smile.
rights and too concerned about romance. And there is the corner where Scott proposed to me. Suppose I’d gone home that night and decided that, no, I stood to lose more than I might gain by taking such a risk? In that alternate world, there might be no Paradise, no Gatsby, none of the hundred or more published stories that readers so love. Ernest Hemingway might yet be poor and little known. And my life, it would look like Marjorie’s: safe and predictable and unexceptional and dull. Even now, I
table with her folded hands pressed to her mouth. Her eyes are damp. “What’s the matter?” I ask. “More bad news? You should stop listening to the radio. There’s nothing we can do and it’s just so upsetting.” “A man phoned while you were out,” she says. “A friend, he said … a friend of yours—” “Harold? Was it Harold Ober? Is it Scottie?” She shakes her head. “Not Harold.” “Who, Mama? Is Scottie all right? She was going to a dance in Poughkeepsie tonight—is it about the dance? Did something
you.” “What are you talking about?” With his tousled hair and sleepy eyes, he looked like a little boy. “You don’t remember?” He sat up against the pillows and reached for his cigarettes. Pensive, he lit one. “I remember some bad poetry, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Gene.” “No, Gene was the one you were with at the fountain.” Now he looked thoroughly confused. “What fountain?” Now I was confused. Had there ever actually been a fountain? I went into the bathroom; there was my dress,
Honoria,” he said. “What difference can it make to a five-year-old?” “It makes a difference to me.” “It’s always about you, isn’t it? You don’t like Ernest, you don’t like Gertrude, you don’t like Pound, you don’t feel well—and I understand, I accommodate your feelings, I do everything I can to help. Now I need something, some time away from Paris. I’ve already paid for the place up front. We’re going.” 36 Shortly after our arrival on the Riviera, Scott and I got invited to a farewell