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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Book Review: Z by Therese Anne Fowler


Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
E-book (kindle), 384 pages
St. Martin’s Press
March 26, 2013

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received for review from publisher via Netgalley request

“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.

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.”

I have to say that I was interested in this book from the first time I had heard about it. Zelda Fitzgerald was someone that I had heard mentioned on the periphery of my literature classes, but wasn’t someone that I knew much about beyond that she had some sort of mental issue. As with most historical figures – especially women – I have learned to expect that there is more than what is typically reported. This novel certainly explored the lesser known side of Zelda and showed her as a real person.

This story is told by Zelda looking back on her life after Scott passed away. Written this way, we get all of her hopes, fears, dreams, and a sense of who she was beyond the stylized flapper of the “lost generation”. While I didn’t always agree with the things she did, you could understand her motivations for the things she did. I also could really draw parallels between Zelda and Scott and Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchannan – which is the only Fitzgerald book I have read so far (although I intend to rectify that soon. This book also furthered my dislike of Earnest Hemingway – more than just disliking his writing.

I have always loved the time period in which this book is set and Fowler really evoked the wild lifestyle that the Fitzgerald’s and company engaged in: the drinking, the partying, and the carefree, entitled life. We spend time in Alabama, Paris, New York, Michigan, among other locales and each felt real and distinct.

I think the one thing that kept me from loving this book was the earlier chapters of Zelda’s life in Alabama. I felt that maybe there was too much time spent there and nothing really happened. I know that it was meant to show the stark difference between her early life and later life. It was just a little boring.

This is the author’s first published novel. You can visit Therese’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book? If you want to check out an audio preview, try this out.

You can also watch the book trailer below.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

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