Thursday, May 9, 2013

"I was drawn into the book just like the two main characters were drawn to each other." --Miki

Zelda Fitzgerald is just as legendary as her famous husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Their names often follow in line one following the other in conversation.  It is almost impossible to mention Scott without discussing his notorious wife.

Sadly, however, the conversation often turns to gossip, lies, and folklore when it comes to Zelda.  Zelda herself and her relationship with Scott are often a matter of great debate.  Some view Zelda as the muse for one of America’s best writers.  Others view her as the crazy woman who destroyed Scott’s career and eventually his entire life.

Whether you are on one side of the fence or the other, (or don’t know enough to pick a side), Z by Theresa Anne Fowler is an excellent work of historical fiction.  Although much of the book is fiction, Fowler has taken what little we know about the private lives of the Fitzgerald’s and created a very believable and very possible picture of their relationship.

Z follows Zelda from her early days of debutant life in the South to glittering New York nights full of Jazz and bootleg liquor. I was drawn into the book just like the two main characters were drawn to each other. From the very first pages, it is evident that Scott and Zelda were pulled to each other with a pure magnetic force. Fowler is magnificent in her depiction of the attraction that the Fitzgeralds felt for one another. They were so caught up in one another; it is easy to see how they could have met such a demise. Their pull was so strong, it was like they were in a tunnel and all of life’s worries were crowding around them. Unfortunately, because of this tunnel, they just couldn’t see the trouble closing in closer and closer. 

Although the attraction between the two never seemed to leave the Fitzgeralds, eventually, life caught up to their speeding car. Very soon, things like fame, money, booze, lovers, and insecurity started to shift the foundation that Scott and Zelda were standing on.  Z shows the many sides of Zelda Fitzgerald. This novel explores the desperation and the charm, the lunacy and the understanding, the genius and the naivety. I don’t know how Fowler managed to get all of this and more into one character, but somehow she does it masterfully. 

I recommend this book for any fan of “The Lost Generation,” but this is a perfect companion to The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

Miki with Andrew McCarthy

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