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Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  2,259 ratings  ·  216 reviews
Gifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young--one of the best reviewed books of 1998--Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the Murphys ...more
Paperback, 470 pages
Published April 20th 1999 by Broadway Books (first published 1998)
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Kim
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it

In 1921 wealthy young Americans Gerald and Sara Murphy moved first to England and then to Paris with their three young children, in order to escape the stifling restrictions imposed upon them by their families and the social milieu in which they lived. They were interested in the arts and soon found themselves actively involved in the artistic life in Paris, working on sets for the Ballets Russes, mixing with Picasso, Cocteau and Léger and later with the writers of the “Lost Generation” includin
...more
Lizzie
I resented having to place this book down and exit the world that Sara and Gerald Murphy invented for themselves. It was all too easy to slip into the grace and charm of Villa America, or to envision the full-tilt excitement of painting backdrops for Parade and hosting the Ballets Russes set for a drunken soiree in honor of Les Noces ending with Stravinsky jumping through a laurel wreath. (Seeing the 'Misia, Queen of Paris' exhibit at the Musee de Orsay and the Paul Guilliame collection at the O ...more
Diane Meier
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Looking at the reviews here, you wouldn't get it - but in fact, The Murphys weren't particularly rich. They chose Paris - and then the South of France - because they were places of beauty and civility where a dollar might be stretched to its limit. And did they know how to stretch it! On very little beyond loving support and sometimes elbow grease, they helped to midwife, groom and finance much of what became "Modern" in the first half of the 20th Century.

In an earlier book about her parents, Ho
...more
Sean O'Brien
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I actually started reading this book before the new film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” came out. I think that a person can mature in one’s understanding of the “Roaring 20s” and 30s by reading this book. The reader who cracks this book purely to indulge a guilty pleasure and immerse oneself in a sparkling period of great parties, beauty and artistic advancements is bound to find a very different experience. If nothing else, it left me with the understanding that every time period has its triu ...more
Sera
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Aylin
I have had incredible fortune with all of the excellent books that I have been reading this year. This book about the Murphy's is no exception. Hands down, Gerald and Sarah Murphy were two of the most generous people around during the early to mid-1900s, and unfortunately, all of that good karma that they should have generated didn't save them from all of the tragedy that they had to face in their lives.

What's great about this book is that there is so much detail around the Murphy's friendships
...more
Lisa
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ok, I love love love this time period. The 1920's in France. But this book is so detailed that you have to be a super fan to get through it. I did read the whole thing but it was tough to get all the way through. Interesting relationship between Sara and Gerald and certainly was fun to live vicariously through them. The pirate treasure hunt sounded amazing. But again, who want to know who attended every party and what they wore.
Lexy Martin
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I've given this book about 120 pages and am abandoning -- just not a book for my cup of tea. I admire the author's dedication to telling this story and love the intersections of the Murphy's lives with the great authors, artists, poets of their time. I finally ended up looking up the couple on Wikipedia just to see how their lives went and that is enough for me. The detail just finally detracted from the story. I did learn a new phrase though that I must use with my research: "noncausal synchron ...more
Laurie Notaro
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Marvelous.
Carmen Gwazdacz
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
At the epicenter of the European modernist movement were Sara and Gerald Murphy. This “golden” couple” were a wealthy expatriate family that moved the French Riviera following World War I in the early twentieth century. Sara was an heiress and Gerald’s family owned the Mark Cross Company. Originally neither of their parents approved of their marriage. Sara’s family felt she was marrying below her station and Gerald’s family felt Sara was unsuitable. Looking to get away from their controlling par ...more
Nigeyb
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill is a detailed account of the life of artist Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara. They are probably now best known as the basis for Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Murphys were good friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway and their families, in addition to many other modernist movers and shakers, many of whom they met in Paris in the early 1920s.

The editi
...more
Peggy
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How wonderful to have spent the past several days with Gerald and Sara Murphy. Generous souls, the two were gifted for friendship and for family. They gave their three children an enchanted upbringing at Villa America, their home in Antibes, where they entertained Scott and Zelda, Picasso and Olga, Hemingway and Hadley and later, Pauline (whom they preferred). In the midst of cocktails, style, and genius, they somehow made a very child-friendly experience, with fairy tale garden settings for par ...more
Susan Weinberg
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I had read this book many years ago and recently reread it, something I do rarely, but it was well worth it in this case. An extremely well researched and well written biography of a couple, Sara and Gerald Murphy, who were central to many of the artists and writers who emerged in the early part of the 1900s. With a home in Antibes, they hosted many luminaries such as Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Leger and Picasso.They were at the core of this world adding ballast, encouragement and of ...more
Denis
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Elegiac biography of the couple that embodies the twenties and the Fitzgerald era. It's all, of course, incredibly sad. But filled with beauty, intelligence, wit, art, and triumphs. Ah, to have known those people... The talent of Vaill is that she gives us the sensation that we actually meet them and know them - it's as if we were invited to one of the fabulous parties these people organized and shared. She brings the Murphys back to life with poignancy and much tenderness, and with them, it's a ...more
Marvin
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Marvin by: John's book club pick
Shelves: non-fiction
Oh, to be an artist or a muse?

Everybody was so Young details...emphasis on the word "details"...the life of Gerald and Sara Murphy, American expatriates who counted as their friends Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, among others. They were a focus of the intellectual circles in the 1920s primarily in Paris and the French Riviera. This well researched look at the period has a lot going for it but I found myself wanting more about the actual artistic and intellectual geniuses
...more
Maureen M
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, art, france
It's one of the best biographies I've read, rich in context while clearly focused on the central characters. It brings to life this extraordinary couple and the extraordinary time they lived in -- the Gilded Age, WWI, the Twenties, the Depression, WWII and beyond. It fills in the gaps left in other works such as "A Movable Feast" and adds dimensions to the Murphys' famous friends. The author portrays the Murphys in their own words, using the ample collections of letters they left behind. It make ...more
Sallee
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the third book I've read recently that pertains the Gerald and Sara Murphy, part of the "Lost Generation". I find that while I enjoyed reading about their lifestyle, their family and friends it was with a sense of sadness. They moved many times in their lives together but never seemed to be able to stay at any one place for very long. Gerald was a very good painter and the ones that were pictured in the books I've read have a "pull" on your senses. It seemed he was constantly looking for ...more
DeB MaRtEnS
The summary of the recently published bestselling novel VILLA AMERICA found me puzzling about whether I had read it, because I seemed to know a great deal about Gerald and Sara Murphy who are the subjects of this novel. But the book which I read was years ago, so it certainly was not Villa America, and I recalled enjoying it immensely. A little Googling (Love this resource!) led me to this biography I had read, as well as a wonderful review. Everybody Was So Young has been republished recently, ...more
Paula
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The story of Gerald and Sarah Murphy is one of the most fascinating aspects of the 20's in France. They should have been in "Midnight in Paris". They were young and in love and drew the most interesting people into their orbit. They seemed to have mastered the art of living beautifully. They were totally devoted despite the fact that Gerald was gay.Hemingway and Picasso were in love with Sara. Did she reciprocate? They lost two of their three children to illness. What a compelling story.
Tori
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy and their fellow Lost Generationers. So full of detail that at times it was tedious but such a kind representation of the Murphys. Their story is quite charming and sad. I'm inspired to re-read Hemingway and Fitzgerald now that I have a background on them as people. And by the way, I rarely mention when I read a Kindle copy vs hand held book but just for information purposes, only 61% is story and the last 39% is acknowledgments and source material. Maybe that ...more
Ellyn
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm pretty much obsessed with the Lost Generation, so I don't know how it took me 45 years to read about Gerald and Sara. They were incredible, the art and music and literature in their orbit is dazzling, and this is one of the best biographies I've read in years.

If you are at all interested in the Lost Generation, in Paris in the 1920s, in Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Dorothy Parker, you MUST read this book. And then prepare to be amazed by how they are dwarfed and humbled by the inspirational gre
...more
Ann
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Amanda Vaill does a beautiful job of telling us about Gerald and Sara. Truly a fascinating couple. It's really a story of marriage, family and friendship. However, the settings and cast of characters is extraordinary. I read everything else I could find about them after this book. I fell in love with them and my heart broke for them, as well.
Stacykurko
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book sparked a "Lost Generation" reading jag. Started with Fitzgerald, led to Dos Passos, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Wonderful story about an artistic couple with the wealth to explore their eccentricities. I thought it was slated to become a movie, but haven't seen any progress.
Martin
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was like picking up an old habit. 20 years ago I spent a summer devouring Fitzgerald and 1920s-related Hemingway, which is how I first heard of the Murphys. Sara Wiborg was an American socialite whose mother had helped her make quite a splash in London society before the war, where she also saw Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, fresh from its riotous debut in Paris. She was more engaged intellectually and artistically with the world around her and she found no pressing need to mar ...more
Terry Tucker
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profoundly interesting,

On the face, the story is familiar. The Murphy’s are advantaged and come from wealthy families. They are Ivy League educated. The story is a who’s - who of the 1920’s. Cole Porter, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Vanderbilt, Crosby, and so many more that there would be no space. In some cases they are intimately close friend s and others are acquaintances. They summer in England and France and the description of the parties would raise the hair on one’s neck. The story of their lif
...more
Susan Liston
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 This was quite good. Of course how a person feels about it will depend on how interested they are in the subject, because it's very detailed. If I had tried to read it straight through I might have been a little overwhelmed, but in short doses I had no problem. Sara and Gerald are definitely famous people you have never heard of. Gerald painted for a short time, but otherwise they didn't produce anything themselves, but were certainly good friends and helpmates and muses to those who did.
Teresa
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 50-books-2020
Wonderfully written and thoroughly researched and given access by Honoraria Murphy-Donnelly to the Murphy’s papers and personal momentos. Added bonus you find out in author’s notes that her parents knew the Murphy’s and she had met them when a young girl.
Whistlers Mom
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
His wife has money.

This book surprised me. In reading about American ex-pats in Europe in the 1920’s, I’ve frequently encountered the names of Sara and Gerald Murphy. They were a wealthy American couple who set up housekeeping in France - first in Paris, then in their “Villa America” on the Mediterranean Sea. They were friends and patrons of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, MacLeish, Dos Passos, Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker, and a host of lesser known writers and artists. They were known for their warm hos
...more
Max
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern
This biography skillfully condenses the Murphy's lives delivering an insightful perspective. We see how world events and changing values impact each stage of their lives and the lives of their prominent friends. Everybody Was So Young shows how the views of the members of their artist and literary community contrast with each other in letters and in books such as Tender Is the Night and A Movable Feast.

Vaill portrays the inherent difficulty and sadness of lives built on friendships that are som
...more
Brierly
Everybody Was So Young throws you into the glamorous world of the Murphys (Sara and Gerald) who crossed paths with many famous figures from the Modernist movement. The Murphys are more subtle figures compared to their famous friends Picasso, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald; yet studying more "normal" figures from this period provides a clearer picture of what this life actually felt like. Centered on the infamous Villa America, this nonfiction work immerses you in the language, art, and social structu ...more
Gabriele Wills
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at an era and generation. I read this book over a year ago and find it still haunts me. We visited Cap d"Antibes last May, where Sara and Gerald established their Riviera home. What a thrill it was to walk along the Garoupe Beach - which they had discovered - trying to envision what it must once have been like before the Murphys helped to popularize the area. Now, of course, it's thick with tourists. But the imagination can take flight!
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Bright Young Things: March 2014- Everybody was so Young by Amanda Vaill 18 28 Mar 25, 2014 04:50AM  

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AMANDA VAILL has just completed Jerome Robbins, By Himself, a selection of the letters, journals, and other writings of the legendary choreographer-director, and she is currently at work on a biography of the Schuyler sisters, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton and Angelica Schuyler Church. She is the author of Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War; Somewhere: The Life of Jerome ...more

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