With lyrical prose, Fowler's Z beautifully portrays the frenzied lives of, and complicated relationship between, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald...This is a novel that will open readers' minds to the life of an often misunderstood woman—one not easily forgotten.
RT Book Reviews
Jazz Age legends F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald come into focus in Fowler’s rich debut.... 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.
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.
If you’re looking for dishy tales of crazy Zelda and drunken Scott, this isn’t your book. You get some of that, certainly, but Fowler, through meticulous research, has crafted a Zelda you might not expect: She’s complex, confused, ambitious, impulsive—and naive.
(Starred review.) Fowler’s Zelda is all we would expect and more…once she meets the handsome Scott, her life takes off on an arc of indulgence and decadence that still causes us to shake our heads in wonder…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. 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.
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