Z by Therese Anne Fowler
A Novel of elda Fitzgerald

64%

9 Critic Reviews

Missing from this novel are any of the virtues that tipped the scale in Fitzgerald’s favor: his professional generosity, friendliness and enormous talent — which, despite all his flaws, made him so well-liked, admired and loved.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

"When I saw that Amazon Prime was unveiling its original pilot for Z, a biographical series based on Therese Anne Fowler's novel about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, I raised a wary eyebrow. . . But I was wrong, oh me of little faith. . . [I]t's an enveloping period piece, perfectly cast, and I would like to see the pilot green-lighted into a series so that we can see this romance go up like a rocket with one loud champagne pop and strew debris across mansion lawns and luxury hotel lobbies in its transcontinental path." —Vanity Fair

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer…and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott's, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

 

About Therese Anne Fowler

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THERESE ANNE FOWLER is an Illinois native and a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she earned a BA in sociology and an MFA in creative writing. She taught undergraduate fiction writing and was an editorial assistant for the literary magazine Obsidian III before leaving to write fiction full-time. Therese has two grown sons and two nearly grown stepsons, and currently lives with her husband in North Carolina.
 
Published March 26, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. 384 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Z
All: 9 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Penelope Green on Apr 19 2013

This Zelda is brisk and rather incurious, and she hurries the reader along, with no stopping for self-analysis.

Read Full Review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Autumn Markus on Mar 26 2013

Ms. Fowler does a marvelous job of conjuring up an age in American, and indeed world, history that was pivotal...

Read Full Review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Washington Times

Above average
Reviewed by Marion Elizabeth Rodgers on May 17 2013

Missing from this novel are any of the virtues that tipped the scale in Fitzgerald’s favor: his professional generosity, friendliness and enormous talent — which, despite all his flaws, made him so well-liked, admired and loved.

Read Full Review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | See more reviews from Washington Times

Toronto Star

Below average
Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Jun 26 2013

...she spends so much time getting the historical details right and larding the book with famous names...that any originality or insight is driven out...What a tragedy.

Read Full Review of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald | See more reviews from Toronto Star

RT Book Reviews

Good

This is a novel that will open readers’ minds to the life of an often misunderstood woman — one not easily forgotten.

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USA Today

Good
Reviewed by Olivia Barker on Mar 29 2013

...Z is at its best as a parallel picture of not just a pioneering woman but a groundbreaking era. Popular culture tends to forget that for women, the '20s were nearly as epochal as the '60s.

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Macleans

Below average
on Mar 22 2013

Parts of the novel can feel cheesy and contrived. At times, Fowler’s descriptions are overly expository—as if she is too eager to squeeze in biographical detail.

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NY Daily News

Good
on Mar 19 2013

As “Z” works toward the only conclusion it could possibly have, Fowler evokes not pity, but compassion for Zelda.

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The Bookbag

Above average
on Jan 03 2013

This is one of those books where your heart breaks when you re-read the Prologue on finishing the book.

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79%

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