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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald Hardcover – March 26, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Novelist Fowler (Exposure, 2011) considered it fate that she would write about Zelda, the wife of celebrated writer Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald: the author’s mother and the famous flapper passed away on the same day. In this frothy offering, readers glimpse the glorious lives of the rich and famous of the Jazz Age. From the moment gorgeous Zelda laid eyes on her officer husband, her days were filled with magical moments, as Scott began to receive critical acclaim, and the pair navigated a social circuit graced by the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Tallulah Bankhead, and Gertrude Stein. But the high life dropped low when Fitzgerald’s good fortune began to fizzle, and his already excessive drinking increased. As her husband grew more distant and distracted, Zelda fell into the arms of a charming Frenchman, but she gave up the romance in hopes of saving her marriage. Could the dazzling literary “It” couple ever find its way back to bliss? Fowler renders rich period detail in this portrayal of a fascinating woman both blessed—and cursed—by fame. --Allison Block


“Fowler expertly depicts the rapture of the couple's early love, and later, the bullying and sickness that drove them apart…Z zips along addictively.” ―Entertainment Weekly

“[A] richly imagined novel…Here [Zelda's] touching story is also fascinating and funny, it animates an entire era.” ―People

“A gorgeously rendered piece of literary entertainment, not a biography but rather a love story set in the Jazz Age.” ―The Daily News

“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman.” ―Library Journal

“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.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fowler renders rich period detal in this portrayal of a fascinating woman both blessed--and cursed--by fame.” ―Booklist

“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

“A novel that is as heartbreaking as it is mesmerizing. About love, desire, betrayal, and one extraordinary woman struggling to shine in the world--even as the one she loves best is drawing the shades. Just magnificent.” ―Caroline Leavitt

“A wonderfully engaging read. With crisp dialogue and vivid descriptions, Z delivers both a compelling love story and a poignant tale of a woman coming into her own as an artist.” ―Heidi W. Durrow

“An utterly engrossing portrayal of Zelda Fitzgerald and the legendary circles in which she moved. In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, Therese Anne Fowler shines a light on Zelda instead of her more famous husband, providing both justice and the voice she struggled to have heard in her lifetime.” ―Sara Gruen


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 375 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (March 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781250028655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250028655
  • ASIN: 1250028655
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (629 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Therese Anne Fowler has a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing. Her work has won honors from the Faulkner Society and Thomas Wolfe Fiction prize competitions. An Illinois native, she currently lives in North Carolina.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 184 people found the following review helpful By a VINE VOICE on February 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been an ardent fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald since I first read "The Great Gatsby" in the tenth grade. I own his complete works, along with an entire shelf of biographies and critical analyses of his work. As author Therese Anne Fowler notes in the Epilogue of this interesting, poignant novel, there really are Team Scott camps and Team Zelda camps. Few literary figures can boast such intense one-sided supporters. I've always found myself firmly planted on Team Scott, and I admit that I've given little regard to wife Zelda over the years other than knowing her as "the crazy woman" that ultimately destroyed Scott and his fragile talent.

That said, "Z" is an extraordinary, excellent fictional autobiography that - perhaps for the very first time - opened my eyes to the complicated nuances of the Fitzgeralds' life and marriage. Fowler's Zelda emerges as a complete, likeable flawed heroine - full of energy, love, and independence in an era when women were extremely limited and scandalized for thinking outside the confines of domesticity. At the outset I braced myself for a very critical portrayal of F. Scott Fitzgerald, since it was clear from the outset that Fowler was on Team Zelda. I was pleasantly surprised that Scott is treated quite fairly, characterized as the selfish, drunken genius that he was, firmly entrenched in the period's belief in male superiority. If anyone emerges as the villain here, it is Fitzgerald's friend and rival Ernest Hemingway, who treated quite critically (again, all from Zelda's perspective).

This is the touching, engaging story of a time and the two individuals who defined it. Zelda Fitzgerald is, at long last, a real person with a heart and soul and mind of her own, detached from her more famous husband.
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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Cunningham TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you've seen Woody Allen's 2011 film "Midnight in Paris," you'll have a feel for what Therese Anne Fowler's novel Z is all about. In the film, a hapless modern-day screenwriter is inexplicably transported to the Paris of the 1920's, where he finds himself in the company of such mythical greats as Ernest Hemmingway, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Jean Cocteau, Gertrude Stein, and yes, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Fowler's novel is written as a first-person account of Zelda Sayre's romance with and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald. What works best about the novel is the same thing that works best about Allen's film - the reader is transported into a wondrous and exotic world of great writers, artists, and musicians against a backdrop of glamorous parties, excessive wealth, and the promise of dreams-come-true. This isn't so much a novel about Scott and Zelda, the "Golden Couple" who enchanted the public in the `20's, as it is about the time itself, about New York during Prohibition, about Paris and Rome, and about what it was like to be a woman with dreams of her own married to a man whose own dreams and expectations consumed her.

Fowler's Zelda is a remarkable character, full of charm and wit and promise. She meets Scott before the publication of his first novel, when he was so young and full of the spirit of adventure that she is captivated in spite of her father's admonition that he will never be able to support her. Their first few years in New York are a whirlwind of social engagements, all-night clubbing, and the undying attention of the media and the public. They seem charmed during those days. But if you know their story, you'll be anticipating what happens next.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Divascribe VINE VOICE on February 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were the golden couple of the frenetic 1920s: Young, good-looking, talented and able to party from dusk till dawn. Scott's novels were hymns to the Jazz Age and its not-always-wretched excess. For awhile, at least, the Fitzgeralds were able to keep up with their high-living image, moving from New York to Paris to enjoy life with the other artistic expats in the City of Light. Scott was idolized for his writing and Zelda for her beauty and high spirits.

The problems began when Scott's drinking outpaced his writing, and he struggled month after month, year after year, to get a book finished. Zelda, meanwhile, with gifts of her own in writing, painting and ballet, struggled with resentment that she was relegated to the supportive role of wife and mother to their daughter Scottie.

Was this couple good for each other or did they destroy each other? Perhaps a little of both. Scott's drinking problem needed no encouragement, and Zelda's obsessive personality eventually put her in a Swiss asylum with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Today, it's believed she was bipolar instead, but whatever the malady, the drinking and high living exacerbated it. There also was the stress associated with Scott's easy come, easy go philosophy about money.

Therese Anne Fowler has written Zelda's story as though she told it herself, so the portrait of her is more sympathetic than others told by people in the Scott camp. Among those was Ernest Hemingway, a close friend of Scott's who wound up hating Zelda (the feeling was mutual) and bad-mouthing them both in his memoir "A Moveable Feast" many years later. "Z" is a well-written, absorbing book that tells Zelda's story as she and Scott navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of fame and professional jealousy.
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