Everyone who’s graduated high school in America has heard of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his “Great American Novel” The Great Gatsby. Fewer people know about his wife, Zelda. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald seeks to fill-in the gaps.
I received this book from my husband, as a gift. The Captain (as I call him) knows I am a huge F. Scott fan and think Gatsby maybe the best American work of fiction EVER!!! So, The Captain picked this up for me and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it.
Right way, I am forced to think of The Paris Wife–a book about Hemmingway’s first wife. I know I shouldn’t compare books, but it is difficult to avoid it. I am also drawn to Hemmingway’s A Movable Feast. In order of preference:
1. A Movable Feast
2. The Paris Wife
3. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Now other reviewers seemed to have some issues with the book. They felt that Scott and Zelda’s characters were ‘off’. I don’t know enough about them or their relationship to judge.
Zelda’s character is lacking a certain level of depth. Additionally, writing her character must be something of a challenge because of the time she spent in the sanitarium. Still, I feel as if the author glossed over those periods and avoided tackling them because it is difficult. None-the-less, Fowler choose to take on this character and should have engaged more with her ‘mental illness’. I would suspect anyone faced with her trails would feel more anguish, helplessness and despair. Those emotions did not come through in the writing.
The book has inspired me to learn more about Zelda and Scott both individually and as a couple.
All and all, this book is certainly not a must read. But, if you are interested in the Jazz Age and the expat experience its not a time consuming read and maybe be worthwhile to you.
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