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Save Me the Waltz

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3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,264 ratings  ·  351 reviews
One of the great literary curios of the 20th century, Save Me the Waltz is the first and only novel by Zelda Fitzgerald. During the years when her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald was working on Tender is the Night—which many critics consider his masterpiece—Zelda Fitzgerald was preparing her own story. The novel strangely parallels events from her husband’s life, throwing a fa ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published August 2nd 2001 by Vintage (Random House) (first published 1932)
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Nicole G. Alabama and David meet during WWI. He's a painter, and she's a Southern belle who is an aspiring ballerina. If you know anything about the Fitzgeralds…moreAlabama and David meet during WWI. He's a painter, and she's a Southern belle who is an aspiring ballerina. If you know anything about the Fitzgeralds themselves, you discover that the majority of this, with some minor details edited, is their own life (but Scott did that for most of his novels, anyway)! Her writing is a bit different than Scott's, and it may be a bit difficult at the beginning, but once you get into the rhythm, there are some very lovely passages in there. (less)
Jennifer Myre I suppose the teaser presumes that the reader knows something about Zelda, and her husband, Scott Fitzgerald. I've read all of Fitzgerald's novels, wi…moreI suppose the teaser presumes that the reader knows something about Zelda, and her husband, Scott Fitzgerald. I've read all of Fitzgerald's novels, with the exception of The Last Tycoon, and many accounts of the Fitzgerald's life together. Save Me the Waltz gives a more intimate look into the life of the couple.(less)

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Steven Godin
Oh dear. The extravagant lifestyle and tumultuous relationship of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald may be the stuff of legend, but Zelda's novel writing abilities were a million miles away from being legendary. Zelda's one and only novel even makes Scott Fitzgerald's worst novel look good. Considering her state of mind at the time of writing this, I'm surprised she managed to complete a novel at all. To say it's rushed would an understatement, with little character development, and scenes that didn't ...more
Linnéa
Jun 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
It often strikes me as absurd to attempt to "rate" literature. Save me the Waltz, for example, is probably not a four-star book. It was, however, a four-star reading experience because I have a fascination with the Fitzgeralds; because it is challenging and fragmented and bizarre; because it makes no sense as a novel and belies the meaning of the genre. Certainly not a read for everyone, but if you have read Tender is the Night, or are at all interested in the lovely Zelda, Save Me the Waltz mig ...more
Sarah
May 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
I found this in a used bookstore around the corner from my apartment.

On the wordy side, but not at all the impenetrable mess people make it out to be. I happen to love dense, elaborate prose. Hers is synesthesiacally brilliant. It's true, the paragraphs are somewhat lacking in rhythm. So much energy went into the individual sentences. But it's one of those books that make me kick my feet with joy and occasionally pause to meditate on a thought or description.

Poor Zelda! Even the cover is dedicat
...more
Bethany
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very nearly regretted picking up this book when, four lines in, I ran into this humdinger of a sentence:

“Most people hew the battlements of life from compromise, erecting their impregnable keeps from judicious submissions, fabricating their philosophical drawbridges from emotional retractions and scaulding marauders in the boiling oil of sour grapes.”

“Oh snap,” I thought. “I’m never going to get through this.”
Either I grew used to it, or she toned her writing down, but reading Save Me the Walt
...more
Primrose Jess
Apr 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I approached this review with some trepidation. I've been fascinated with the Fitzgeralds, admire FS Fitzgerald's writing, and have been curious to read Zelda's work. Obviously a work of fiction, yet this novel has been surmised to be a reflection of Zelda's view of their courtship and marriage. If you've read the fiction novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald you will be surprised to also see parallels in the storyline. After reading this, I felt mildly deflated.. as if you just discovered someo ...more
n* Dalal
Nov 13, 2009 rated it liked it
As I picked up Save Me the Waltz to read it a second time, the dry brittle pages started crumbling under my fingers, the dog-eared corners simply gave up and fell away, leaving me surrounded with tiny flakes of yellow paper.

Though I wanted to read this while also reading Tender Is the Night, it looks like I'll need to do some book rescue before I can read this one. When I first bought this book, it was out-of-print and impossible to find; I got lucky with a cheap paperback at an oblivious bookst
...more
Robert Strandquist
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: while-in-belgium
Why five stars for such an unevenly written novel? Despite her over use of similes, Zelda's writing sizzles with dazzling descriptions. I'm convinced that she either wrote or edited the first party scene in "Gatsby" because that same cadence of phrasing in those long sentences that crescendo to delirious heights appear throughout "Save Me the Waltz." Another bias that supports five stars rests in my sympathy for Zelda's protagonist, Alabama. When her manic swings are on the rise, her aesthetics ...more
Laura
This is the first and only book written by Zelda Zayre, aka Zelda Fitzgerald.

The plot is quite autobiographical even if it's a piece of fiction. The main character, Alabama is a portrait of a wife of a famous artist who struggles to live her own life in the shadow of the success a famous husband. Sometimes, she is quite obsessive in becoming a dancer even if she was not young any longer.

One feels that Zelda wrote this book as an auto-therapeutic way out in order to surpass her mental issues (she
...more
Steven
Zelda wrote Save Me the Waltz, her first and only novel, during the six weeks that she spent in a sanatorium in 1932. It draws on many of the same experiences that would go into her husband Scott's Tender is the Night (which, incidentally, is probably my favorite of his novels). Apparently, the novel was originally much more vehement than the final, edited version suggests (Zelda resisted, but finally caved in and let Scott and Maxwell Perkins edit some of its more critical notes). It begins rou ...more
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think that Zelda Fitzgerald wrote this book as a reaction to F Scott Fitzgerald using their lives and anecdotes as a basis for many of his books. She was a frustrated ballerina and made her protagonist become the star of a ballet troupe in Naples, Italy, where she was asked to join, but was not allowed to accept, by her husband. I felt the book was well written and her explanation of various horrible things that aspiring ballerinas endure was enlightening. It also illuminated her spiral into m ...more
Roman Clodia
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
'What can I do with myself,' she thought restlessly

When Scott Fitzgerald read this book of Zelda's he found it disturbing for two reasons: that it revealed too much about the intimate workings of their marriage, and that it used material that he considered his own, that was a central part of his Tender is the Night, the book he was still working on when Zelda's own novel was published in 1932. In that sense, this is best read as the other side of the story that Fitzgerald told, not just in Tend
...more
Zoe Crosher
Jun 12, 2008 is currently reading it
Recommended to Zoe by: Leslie Grant
Curious as to what the mysterious and haunted figure of Zelda had to say for herself. Have just gotten through the intro, but am a bit mortified by Harry T. Moore of Illinois State University's statement that "Obviously, Save Me The Waltz is not at this height of achievement. Yet it deserves to be read as something more than a mere commentary on or analogue of Tender is the Night...this book may lack the finished craftsmanship of Fitzgerald's work, but Save Me the Waltz has a current of life run ...more
Nigeyb
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I gave up reading after 140 pages. This book really isn't my cup of tea. I am surprised and disappointed as I love both The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night, and so was looking forward to reading Zelda Fitzgerald's perspective on some of the events that inspired Tender Is the Night.

Quite a few reviews I glanced at, before starting the book, suggested that this was more than a literary footnote, and was a good book in its own right. I disagree. It's overwritten, confused and vainly strives f
...more
Uncle
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"I am so outrageously clever that I believe I could be a whole world to myself if I didn't like living in Daddy's better." - Alabama Beggs

As the glamorous wife of a famous author, Zelda Fitzgerald was already a celebrity when her first (and only published) novel, Save Me the Waltz, appeared in 1932. Was her public notoriety responsible for the book’s lukewarm reception with readers and critics alike?

The public continues to be fascinated by the tragic personal stories of F. Scott and Zelda Fitz
...more
Leslie-ann
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
I am not sure it is fair to classify this as a "literary curio"--it goes beyond that in many ways. It is a tangle of madness, misery, and even general misanthropy, but it is also tinged with love, admiration, and moments of lucidity.

Had this been properly revised, I think it could have been quite a masterpiece. Zelda has this remarkable way with words (half of the lines in the book will require you to read them two or three times over) even though some of her phrasing in somewhat incomprehensibl
...more
Val
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: group
I hope Zelda Fitzgerald found that writing this book was a valuable and rewarding experience; I can't say that I found reading it was.

Several reviewers have mentioned that Zelda's style is verbose and convoluted, but she does use several styles in the book and the rampant verbosity becomes less prevalent as the story progresses. The overblown metaphors and strings of similes are the style and voice of a pretentious, self-obsessed, romantically inclined teenager. It is a style for readers who hav
...more
Susy
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1.5 stars
Thank God I finally finished this book. The background story sounded very interesting but Zelda's writing style is just not for me. I don't like elaborate prose, and if you can say something about Zelda's writing it's that it is very elaborate. She uses elaborate comparisons which often didn't make any sense to me (but maybe that's because I just don't like that kind of writing) and she uses them a lot, sometimes even two or three in one sentence. I felt that in the later parts of the b
...more
Michael
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-classic, 1930s
Save Me the Waltz is the story of Alabama Beggs, a young Southern girl who meets and falls in love with David Knight during World War I. The two inevitably get married and David goes on to become a successful painter, before moving their family to the French Riviera. However Alabama is determined to find her own success and takes up ballet. When she lands her first solo debut in the opera Faust the cracks in their marriage become evident.

After an episode of hysteria in 1932, Zelda Fitzgerald was
...more
Emma Holtrust
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted on The Beauty of Literature

Those of you that follow me on Tumblr will know that I have been obsessed with The Lost Generation authors. In the never ending search of a thesis topic, I have now decided to focus on them and first up is Zelda Fitzgerald - a woman I've read so much about, but never read what she wrote. And thankfully I decided to change that.

Save Me the Waltz is the mostly autobiographical story of Zelda, represented by the main character Alabama, from her ch
...more
El
Aug 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Southern belle, Alabama Beggs, is the youngest daughter of a prominent judge and unlike her two older sisters from her endearing wit to her attitude towards life. She meets David Knight during his visit to the South during World War I; they marry and ultimately move to live in the Riviera. David, an artist, carries on an affair with an actress, a relationship of which Alabama is aware. In her desperate attempts to salvage the marriage she throws herself into learning ballet, an exceptionally dif ...more
Rory
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to read--an even harder book to write.

So much of this novel has to been seen in the context of Zelda Fitzgerald being the wife of the most popular and well regarded writer of her peers. So much of what is wrong with this book feels like it is because of that weight pressing on the author--but it is a book that should not be ignored or forgotten.

The story is simple--a beautiful couple mixed in the world of fame, art, love and hope... Him a world famous painter and her a world
...more
Algie
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Algie by: Google
Poor thing.

Poor, poor thing.

Zelda had such a wonderfully, dismally, perfectly sad life, that was absolutely filled with her optimistic outlook and biting wit. I loved the part of her childhood, where she was so conniving and so intent on catching everyone out. She was not just a literary curio, she was a literary Queen. Heralded only as the wife of Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda deserves far more a substantial place on the pantheon.

It was, however, a trial to read at times. Her words flow slightly c
...more
Ali
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The one and only novel written by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Save me the Waltz is the novel my very small book group chose for our July read. It is the book Zelda wrote during a period she spent in a Baltimore hospital to receive psychiatric treatment, while there she spent around two hours a day writing as a part of a daily routine to aid her recovery. The book was written in just a few weeks and to be absolutely honest it shows. Both Harry T Moore who wrote the introduction printed in this editio ...more
Amy
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imperfect but I loved it.
La Bovaryste
Jan 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"She, she told herself, would move brightly along high places and stop to trespass and admire, and if the fine was a heavy one – well, there was no good in saving up beforehand to pay it. [...] Relentlessly she convinced herself that the only thing of any significance was to take what she wanted when she could. She did her best."
𝓩𝓮𝓵𝓭𝓪 𝓢𝓪𝔂𝓻𝓮 𝓕𝓲𝓽𝔃𝓰𝓮𝓻𝓪𝓵𝓭, 𝓢𝓪𝓿𝓮 𝓜𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓦𝓪𝓵𝓽𝔃

I have long yearned for the moment when I would stick my nose between the pages of the first and last novel by Zelda Fitzgerald,
...more
Lauren
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I went through my phase with the Fitzgeralds and friends, this was impossible to find unless you were willing to drop $50 on a long out-of-print used paperback. I felt like I 'owed' it to that version of myself to finally read it now that it is, deservedly, much easier to come by, but it only makes clear how far from that self I've wandered. Now, without any particular romantic or tragic feelings about it, much of it is just a slog. The prose is dreamy almost to the point of sheer nonsense, ...more
Petra
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Oh, how I wanted to love this novel so much! Save Me the Waltz is the only novel Zelda Fitzgerald ever wrote and while it was at parts filled with potential, over all it was ended up being overwritten and underdeveloped.
Dominic Carlin
Sep 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
It’s just bad Lynn
Ryan
Sep 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
'Under separate cover, as I believe is the professional phraseology, I have mailed you my first novel. Scott [Fitzgerald] being absorbed in his own has not seen it, so I am completely in the dark as to its possible merits. If the thing is too wild for your purposes, might I ask what you suggest?'

Zelda Fitzgerald in a letter to Maxwell Perkins, March 1932.

Written in six weeks while its author was a resident of John Hopkins University Hospital, Save Me the Waltz is one of those books that has all
...more
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Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, born Zelda Sayre, was a novelist and the wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was an icon of the 1920s—dubbed by her husband "the first American Flapper". After the success of his first novel This Side of Paradise (1920), the Fitzgeralds became celebrities. The newspapers of New York saw them as embodiments of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties: young, rich, beautiful ...more

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