Author: Therese Anne Fowler, 2013.
Genre: Period Fiction. Historical Biography.
Other Details: Hardback. 375 pages.
A novel of the woman dubbed ‘The First Flapper’ – Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald – wife and muse to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set against the glamorous backdrop of The Roaring Twenties, Z is the story of the golden couple who had it all, but who weren't destined for a happy ending.
Before F. Scott Fitzgerald was a literary darling, before he’d even begun to imagine The Great Gatsby or Benjamin Button, he was a young WWI army lieutenant who fell hard for a spirited Southern belle named Zelda Sayre.The life he and Zelda would lead together in New York, Long Island, Paris, Hollywood and the French Riviera made them legends, even in their own time. - synopsis from UK publisher's website.
I decided to read this following a recent reading of The Great Gatsby, which sparked a desire to know more about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. As it happened 2013 saw a revival of interest in F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald with the much anticipated release of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. As a result a few novels were published featuring the couple as well as various non-fiction works. This fictional biography (or autobiography as it is narrated by Zelda) came highly recommended.
I found it totally engrossing. It was obvious that Therese Fowler had undertaken a great deal of research and translated that into a compelling narrative. I wasn't quite sure that she managed to capture Zelda's voice during her breakdowns. Still, that did not distract me overly and what emerged from that section of the novel was that the diagnosis imposed by the doctors was deeply flawed. Her desire to express her own creativity was quite heartbreaking. The novel has encouraged me to seek out more about Zelda.
Therese Anne Fowler's website for 'Z' - links to print and audio excerpts, photo gallery and longer synopsis.