Monday, March 18, 2013

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

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.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!

Whoa. Now there are some books you will love immediately, some you don't want to end, some you will savor every possible moment you can from them and there are also some you will just want to keep by your bedside for a good old re-read every once in a while. Yeah . . . this was one of those books and boy did I love it!

In reading Theresa Anne Fowler's debut novel, Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD, I have discovered many new and old things about the relationship shared between Zelda Fitzgerald and her famous writer husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and how incredibly sad and intense their love - and marriage - was behind the glittering backdrop of the famous jazzy scene. It not only gave me a new perception of their everyday lives and of themselves too, but I also found that the book itself had really made an impact on me as I'm an admirer of them both. So with me having always been fascinated by this couple and of the works by F. Scott Fitzgerald in particular such as The Great Gatsby, I was very excited to read this book and boy did it blow me away by how closely it followed with the lives of the famous Fitzgerald couple, and how riveting and compelling the book came to be.

But in saying that, this book is not a very happy one. In fact, it's quite depressing and incredibly sad for the most part, especially towards the end of the book. It was just so sad and yet so brilliant too. So if you're already aware of what conspired between Scott and Zelda's marriage, you will know what I mean by depressing and sad. But out of everything I have just read, what I came to really admire so deeply about Fowler's work is her portrayal of Zelda and how it was like for her to be the wife of a famous writer, a man with many pitfalls of his own. It was quite an eye-opener to say the least.

Zelda, in my mind, was shown in a very different light in this book. You couldn't help but constantly sympathize with her. I wanted to be her friend - to be there for her to confide in - because I wanted her to triumph in spite of her husband's own and short-lived career. You know, so she could find her own place in the world that wasn't so glittery as the parties she attended and where support for Zelda's ambitions were actually supported rather than just not existing in the first place. She was just that type of woman you wanted to conquer the world with her own set of dreams, especially when others tried to hold her back. She had her imperfections (that's for sure) but, to me personally, she seemed like such a wonderful and a very strong young woman who was always the shadow of her husband . . . until now.

Even in the regards to Zelda's marriage, while both her and Scott had their own faults and may have loved each other immensely (you could definitely see it even if it didn't seem that way at times with their back-and-forth relationship), but as you go on reading, you will slowly find out about how toxic they were for each other and how the jazz era - what with their parties and mingling with other well-known people - can and will literally breakdown a marriage. It always had it coming. F. Scott Fitzgerald, for example, was someone I found allowed his own career and fame to go straight to this head, and while this book maybe of fiction, you still couldn't help but really feel sorry for Zelda in wanting the husband she married back. The one who had adored her and wanted to be hers forever. After all, he was quite a force to be reckoned with once he became famous. So while I do understand Scott's own actions as Zelda could be just as bad as him and selfish even, but poor Zelda. I really felt for her in the end.

Overall, Z: A NOVEL OF ZELDA FITZGERALD was such a powerful and riveting read, and I think it will be a great read for those who know a little - or a lot - about the Fitzgerald's. I, for one, was so enthralled with it til the very end and I think the author should be really proud of her own work right here. It's a masterpiece I kid you not. I absolutely loved it and I think I'm going to buy myself a copy of it now because it was very, very wonderful!

The Rating
5/5 stars


  1. I was already interested in the Fitzgeralds once I'd first read The Great Gatsby for high school about 4 years ago now, but what really got me to WANT to dig in deeper was Lesley's (Youtube: WordsOfAReader) video. I really don't read much non-fiction but this one is right up there on my wishlist. I actually had no idea there was so much hardship for the two until I watched that video.... Great review. Glad you loved it!

  2. This looks amazing. I really want to read Great Gatsby and have for a while. I just want to know: does this read as a biography or fiction?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...