Thursday, January 31, 2013
Book Look: Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
In reading Therese Anne Fowler's Zelda: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I discovered many new things about the "it" couple of the Jazz Age. Since I am not an expert on the true story of Zelda, this novel gave me an entirely new impression of the mercurial and some have said crazy wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Fowler uses first person, allowing Zelda to tell her own story, from her rich-girl status in Alabama's tight society to the quixotic, boozy wife-babe by Scott's side in New York, Paris, Italy, Switzerland, and the Riviera.
Zelda's impressions of other authors, like the young Hemingway, make for interesting contrasts with other things one may have read. The relationship she shares with Scott is both needy and volatile. She is depressed by his drinking, but she herself drinks. She is upset with his concern for fame as a novelist, but she seeks her own fame as a writer, a painter, a dancer.
The "cures" she undergoes as her behavior becomes more erratic seemed tragic to me. And all the while, there is their daughter, Scottie, shuttled between nannies and continents.
Glamorous names abound: Coco Chanel, Hadley Hemingway, Pauline Hemingway as well as the men who held court in Parisian cafes.
This is a terrific read with details of life among the rich and very famous. I cannot comment on the veracity of this story, not being an expert in Fitzgerald. So there may be some outcry once the book is published, coming from Fitzgerald scholars. As a reader, I was appalled and enchanted by Scott and Zelda's world.