Reviews for Z : A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald


Booklist Reviews 2013 February #2
Novelist Fowler (Exposure, 2011) considered it fate that she would write about Zelda, the wife of celebrated writer Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald: the author's mother and the famous flapper passed away on the same day. In this frothy offering, readers glimpse the glorious lives of the rich and famous of the Jazz Age. From the moment gorgeous Zelda laid eyes on her officer husband, her days were filled with magical moments, as Scott began to receive critical acclaim, and the pair navigated a social circuit graced by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Tallulah Bankhead, and Gertrude Stein. But the high life dropped low when Fitzgerald's good fortune began to fizzle, and his already excessive drinking increased. As her husband grew more distant and distracted, Zelda fell into the arms of a charming Frenchman, but she gave up the romance in hopes of saving her marriage. Could the dazzling literary "It" couple ever find its way back to bliss? Fowler renders rich period detail in this portrayal of a fascinating woman both blessed--and cursed--by fame. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
The Jazz Age revisited through the tumultuous and harrowing life of Zelda. Fowler's Zelda is all we would expect and more, for she's daring and unconventional yet profoundly and paradoxically rooted in Southern gentility. (Her father, after all, was a judge in Montgomery, Ala.) Once she meets the handsome Scott, however, her life takes off on an arc of indulgence and decadence that still causes us to shake our heads in wonder. The early years are sublime, for both Scott and Zelda are high-spirited, passionate and deeply committed to each other. There's even a touching naïveté in the immoderation of their lives, a childlike awe in their encountering the confection of Paris for the first time. With the success of This Side of Paradise, Scott quickly becomes lionized, and life becomes an endless series of parties. Fowler reminds us of the astonishing social circle within which the Fitzgeralds lived and moved and had their being--soirées with Picasso and his mistress, with Cole Porter and his wife, with Gerald and Sara Murphy, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Ezra Pound and Jean Cocteau. Scott's friendship with Hemingway verges on a love affair--at least it's close enough to one to make Zelda jealous. We witness Zelda's increasing desperation to establish her own identity--rather difficult when Scott "claims" some of her stories as his own. She also studies ballet and gets an invitation to join a dance company in Italy, but Scott won't allow her to leave. He bullies her, and she fights back. Ultimately, both of these tragic, pathetic and grand characters are torn apart by their inability to love or leave each other. Fowler has given us a lovely, sad and compulsively readable book. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 October #1

Fowler won an LJ star for her 2008 debut, Souvenir, then settled comfortably into fraught contemporary relationship territory. Here she does something entirely different, reimagining the tumultuous life of Zelda Fitzgerald. A big burst of publisher enthusiasm for this book.

[Page 54]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 January #1

Fowler's (Exposure) latest novel is a biographical sketch of Zelda Fitzgerald, the beautiful but troubled wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Born Zelda Sayre in Alabama, she is a Southern belle whose energy and indulgences prompt her to follow Fitzgerald north to New York City and later to Paris. Tumultuous love, literary jealousies, alcoholism, and masculine rivalries all play key roles in the drama of American literature's "It" couple. The Fitzgeralds mingle with Jazz Age greats including Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Pablo Picasso. Zelda's continuous attempts to escape the shadow of her famous husband and assert her own artistic identity often end in bitter arguments and ultimately lead to her insanity. Though there are many biographies of the Fitzgeralds, Fowler's well-researched fictional account provides a tender, intimate exploration of a complicated and captivating woman. VERDICT This will appeal to readers of American and literary history, women's studies, or poignant romances. While it doesn't offer anything new to the Fitzgerald story, Fowler's detailed prose will certainly spark fresh interest in the most famous couple of the Roaring Twenties. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/12; interested readers might also want to try Zelda's only (and autobiographical) novel, Save Me the Waltz--Ed.]--Shannon Marie Robinson, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH

[Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Fowler's (Exposure) latest novel is a biographical sketch of Zelda Fitzgerald, the beautiful but troubled wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Born Zelda Sayre in Alabama, she is a Southern belle whose energy and indulgences prompt her to follow Fitzgerald north to New York City and later to Paris. Tumultuous love, literary jealousies, alcoholism, and masculine rivalries all play key roles in the drama of American literature's "It" couple. The Fitzgeralds mingle with Jazz Age greats including Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and Pablo Picasso. Zelda's continuous attempts to escape the shadow of her famous husband and assert her own artistic identity often end in bitter arguments and ultimately lead to her insanity. Though there are many biographies of the Fitzgeralds, Fowler's well-researched fictional account provides a tender, intimate exploration of a complicated and captivating woman. VERDICT This will appeal to readers of American and literary history, women's studies, or poignant romances. While it doesn't offer anything new to the Fitzgerald story, Fowler's detailed prose will certainly spark fresh interest in the most famous couple of the Roaring Twenties. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/12; interested readers might also want to try Zelda's only (and autobiographical) novel, Save Me the Waltz --Ed.] --Shannon Marie Robinson, Denison Univ. Lib., Granville, OH (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #3

Jazz Age legends F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald come into focus in Fowler's rich debut. The famous couple have a whirlwind courtship in Montgomery, Ala., where Scott was briefly stationed at the end of WWI, and Zelda was the talk of the town. Then Fowler unfolds the next 20 years: the couple's New York celebrity after This Side of Paradise; the years in Paris with the other "Lost Generation" expats; and their return to the U.S. to treat Zelda's schizophrenia. Fowler is a close study of their famously tumultuous relationship, sparing no detail by following the Fitzgeralds through the less glamorous parts of their lives and the more obscure moments of history, including Zelda's obsession with ballet and the strained relationship she had with their daughter, Scottie. Most consistently, Zelda is worried about money, her husband's alcoholism and lack of productivity, and her own desire for recognition. Although obviously well researched, Zelda, who splashed in the Union Square fountain and sat atop taxi cabs, doesn't have, in Fowler's hands, the edge that history suggests. Fowler portrays a softer, more anxious Zelda, but loveable nonetheless, whose world is one of textured sensuality. Announced first printing of 150,000. Agent: Wendy Sherman, Wendy Sherman Associates. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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