Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Zelda: A Biography Paperback – November 29, 2011
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From the Back Cover
Zelda Sayre started out as a Southern beauty, became an international wonder, and died by fire in a madhouse. With her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald, she moved in a golden aura of excitement, romance, and promise. The epitome of the Jazz Age, they rode the crest of the era to its collapse and their own.
As a result of years of exhaustive research, Nancy Milford brings alive the tormented, elusive personality of Zelda and clarifies as never before her relationship with Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda traces the inner disintegration of a gifted, despairing woman, torn by the clash between her husband’s career and her own talent.
About the Author
Nancy Milford holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University where Zelda was her dissertation. She has held a Guggenheim Fellowship in Biography, and has served on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Society of American Historians, and the Writers Room, of which she is a founder. Her most recent book is Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay. She lives in Manhattan.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 65%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Scott, who struggled so valiantly to make a living by entertaining the public and who was dragged inevitably downward by the drinking he could not control. And Zelda, who yearned to be "someone" in her own right, struck down in her prime by the horror of schizophrenia. A woman who never knew that, by a strange twist of fate, she would someday be as famous as her husband, though not for an artistic accomplishment.
She became author of one book, "Save me the Waltz", but Scott blamed her for appropriating their shared experiences, material that he needed for his own novels, the ones that had a chance of becoming best-sellers and keeping the family afloat. That was his weakness as a novelist: His creative imagination was bounded by his own life, his own experiences and Zelda's.
The author, Nancy Milford, uses Zelda's own words from her desperate, accusatory, apologetic, and finally irrational letters. She also quotes lengthy reminiscences from people who witnessed the Fitzgeralds' excesses in America and as expatriates: Sara and Gerald Moore, Edmund Wilson, Hemingway, longtime editors, and old friends from the Atlanta days.
The reader is left with real admiration for Scott Fitzgerald's unwavering care for a deranged wife whose hospitalization drained his finances even as his books failed to sell and his bank account stood at no more than a hundred dollars. Unsuccessful at writing for the theater, he turned to churning out stories for any magazine that would buy them. And through it all, he kept their daughter in the finest schools.
Much of this heart-wrenching history is revealed in Scott Fitzgerald's own despairing letters to his wife. Even when he began a new life turning out screenplays in Hollywood, even while suffering from pulmonary and heart disease, even after beginning a quiet, orderly affair with journalist Sheila Graham, he never let a week go by without a letter to Zelda in her Eastern asylum.
After years in one sanitarium or another, and after Scott's early death, Zelda, impoverished, returned to live with her mother. Now we see the sad final chapters of a tragic life. We see the faithful, dignified old mother sitting with a visitor on the porch of her Alabama home and hearing from inside a sudden low wail "like that of a wounded animal" and the violent slamming of a door. Three times that summer, she said quietly, she had had to replace the door facing.
I don't think you will find a more tragic story more movingly told. Zelda's death, horrible as it was, probably came as a blessing to her "unquiet shade". That is how it seemed to the few people who saw her to the grave, her place beside Scott, now reunited with her and at peace.
Additionally, I would have loved more about her family life. It is possible that little is known of her relationship with her parents and siblings and even her daughter Scottie (with Scottie expressly), several other important people in her life are merely given the short straw; the pilot in France with whom Zelda may have had an affair with, some of the nurses and doctors in the hospitals, and other close friends. Though she does detail throughout the book Zelda's challenges in establishing long-term friendships with people, it does seem that important moments in Zelda's life are glossed over at times. The Fitzgerald's trips to Africa, Europe, and Cuba are summed up and passed through too quickly.
When reading a biography, I would rather read too much than not enough, but at times, the editing could have been tighter, and moments that were skimmed developed a bit more. Still, for those who read to of the twists and turns of Zelda's and F. Scott's relationship, this book is a must-read.