Before F. Scott Fitzgerald was a literary darling, he was a young World War I army lieutenant who fell hard for a spirited Southern belle named Zelda Sayre, who lived in Montgomery, Alabama. The life he and Zelda would lead together in New York, Long Island, Paris, Hollywood, and on the French Riviera made them legends even in their own time. Set amidst the glamour of the Jazz Age and the Lost Generation’s vivid world abroad, Z by Therese Anne Fowler brings Zelda and Scott’s romantic, tumultuous, extraordinary journey to life. It is one of the most highly anticipated books of the season; when I read it, I immediately saw why.
Just as we were able to see into the life of Hadley, the first Mrs. Hemingway in THE PARIS WIFE, here we meet Zelda, who clearly charmed Fitzgerald. We see not only how she inspired him, but also the tensions between them. The way their lives spiraled up and down flow through the prose. Their moves from dark and light sides made their lives rocky and their highs and lows both inspired and inhibited creativity. While we know Scott as the writer, I was not aware of Zelda’s talent until I read Z.
Many literary characters swing in and out of this book, so those who loved THE PARIS WIFE will want to read this. And those who read LOVING FRANK will be fans as well. These stories of the women behind their famous men are so intriguing. In each, the woman played a key role, and a topic for discussion is where would these men have been without them. There is LOTS of literary and sociological chatter for book groups in Z!