Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
This is a stunning novel that captures the shining but tragic life of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of the legendary writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is perhaps best known for his novel The Great Gatsby. For a time the Fitzgeralds were the golden couple, Scott celebrated for his writing, and life was a whirl of parties and high jinks – where it was hard to distinguish between the real couple and the characters Scott wrote about. But beneath the glitter, not all was as golden, with rivalry and fierce jealousy often erupting between the couple. Zelda yearned to be known in her own right as a talent – with her own writing (often published under her husband’s name instead), her art and in her dancing – but again and again Scott expected her to forego her own ambitions to be his muse and raise their daughter. Adding more tension to Zelda’s life was Scott’s complicated friendship with Ernest Hemmingway, a man she didn’t approve of, especially for Hemmingway’s hold over him. This is an extraordinary novel that follows the complicated couple from their courtship, marriage, periods of extraordinary success, fame and travel, to alcoholism, infidelity and mental illness. Zelda emerges as a spirited Southern Belle and the research the author has clearly done establishes Zelda finally with her own identity away from her famous husband. It’s a magnificent novel that dares to delve into their passionate and extraordinary lives and it captures the Roaring Twenties in all its fabulous decadence and the legendary circles the Fitzgeralds moved in. Tragic, but utterly engrossing.