Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

St. Martin's. Mar. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781250028655. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250028648. F
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.]
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