THE INSPIRATION FOR THE TELEVISION DRAMA Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING
I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we're ruined, Look closer…and you'll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner's, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby's parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott's, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler's New York Times bestseller brings us Zelda's irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
There are few literary figures more fascinating than Zelda Fitzgerald. And that’s what makes Therese Anne Fowler’s fictional take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s troubled wife—the basis for the TV series Z: The Beginning of Everything, starring Christina Ricci—such a great read. Z provides a fascinating view of a complex woman trapped by both the conventions of her time and an unsupportive husband struggling with his own demons. Whether she’s partying in Paris, standing up to Ernest Hemingway, or tending to her mental health, Fowler’s Zelda fights desperately for the freedom to be herself—but it remains tragically out of reach.
Jazz Age legends F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald come into focus in Fowler's rich debut. The famous couple have a whirlwind courtship in Montgomery, Ala., where Scott was briefly stationed at the end of WWI, and Zelda was the talk of the town. Then Fowler unfolds the next 20 years: the couple's New York celebrity after This Side of Paradise; the years in Paris with the other "Lost Generation" expats; and their return to the U.S. to treat Zelda's schizophrenia. Fowler is a close study of their famously tumultuous relationship, sparing no detail by following the Fitzgeralds through the less glamorous parts of their lives and the more obscure moments of history, including Zelda's obsession with ballet and the strained relationship she had with their daughter, Scottie. Most consistently, Zelda is worried about money, her husband's alcoholism and lack of productivity, and her own desire for recognition. Although obviously well researched, Zelda, who splashed in the Union Square fountain and sat atop taxi cabs, doesn't have, in Fowler's hands, the edge that history suggests. Fowler portrays a softer, more anxious Zelda, but loveable nonetheless, whose world is one of textured sensuality. Announced first printing of 150,000.