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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

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3.83  ·  Rating details ·  39,919 Ratings  ·  4,280 Reviews
A dazzling novel that captures all of the romance, glamour, and tragedy of the first flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald.

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 un
...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
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Amy I don't know if I've really seen one with her featured. She's more in the background - I haven't read this one yet, but it's on my list!!
Mallory It's fictional, but based on research. I think the genre is called 'biographical fiction.'
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Therese Fowler
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Dear Reader,

Many thanks for your interest in Z. You might appreciate knowing a little bit more about what went into the creation of the novel, and why I chose to write fiction about people whose lives are so thoroughly documented in biographies.

Z is fiction, but my research was extensive and thorough, and in telling the story I've stayed very close to the established facts. My personal approach to biographical fiction is to unearth and then represent the truth, even when it contradicts what peo
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is Zelda Lite. I think this novel will be absolute perfection for readers who just want a quick romp through the years of Zelda's life that are most relevant to her role as the wife of a famous and very troubled writer. There's almost nothing in the book about her life before she met Scott, and only a brief Afterword covering the years from when Scott died in 1940 until her death in 1948.

What you get here is a look at the years when the Fitzgeralds were the golden couple, and Zelda was the
...more
Violet wells
A biographer doesn’t need to possess the same level of intelligence, eloquence, wisdom or imaginative reach as her subject because biography is essentially telling, not showing. A novelist, on the other hand, cannot convincingly create a character who is more intelligent, eloquent, wise or more imaginatively complex than she herself is because there will come times when she has to prove it. These make-or-break moments will often arrive in the writing of dialogue.

The author states that “much of
...more
Moira Russell
Mar 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Flat-out terrible. Full of anachronisms and totally wrong speech patterns, and even worse, Scott and Zelda don't sound like themselves at all, and the author wrote pale unconvincing imitations of their letters when volumes of them are available! So disappointing. Not recommended at all.

SAMPLE DIALOGUE: "I went to the window. 'I never woulda thought it. Not like this.' I turned back toward him. 'You're sorta impressive.'"
Robin
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Marry me, Zelda. We'll make it all up as we go."

"Have another glass of champagne and tell me more."

"You'll make it worth my while, right?"

That's it: my whole review. I'll be over here crying in the corner if you need me.

And just in case there was anyone who thought my heart wasn't sufficiently broken this year, Hadley Hemingway showed up here again to make sure it stayed broken. Stop whatever you're doing and go read this, then watch Midnight in Paris then embarrass yourself over twitter by pic
...more
Mariah
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mariah by: Tima
I read this book for my A-Z book title challenge.

Wow! I really enjoyed this book! I learned so much about the Fitzgeralds and I originally knew very little. Zelda was a fascinating women with bipolar disorder, but most of the book was before her hospitalizations. All I knew about her before the book was that she was married to Scott and had mental health troubles and was in and out of hospitals. This book showed so much more than that. Majority of her life, she was very healthy and active. She
...more
B the BookAddict
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Angela



The Jazz Age was a particularly hedonistic time and few who lived it, came through it unscathed. Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald certainly did not escape scot-free but after reading this book, my sympathies lie much more with Zelda. In all honesty, I came away from finishing this book feeling immensely sad for Zelda: even given her faults, you can't say she wasn't trying to have a life; a life away from all the booze, the fun, the people. If she'd left Scott, the law denoted that she would lose her
...more
Kim
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it

This is well-researched piece of historical fiction which, notwithstanding the good intentions of the author, falls rather flat. It tells the story of Zelda Sayre Fitgerald's life from the time she met her husband Scott in 1918 until his death in 1940, covering their courtship and marriage, their "Jazz Age" antics in New York, their life together in France, Scott's alcoholism and Zelda's mental health problems. Fowler squarely puts herself in the camp of those who take the view that Zelda's brea
...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
4.5 stars. I was so excited to get my hands on an ARC of this book. I screamed when I opened the envelope and succeeded in getting my husband to run into the room to see if I had been hurt. To say that this book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013 would be an understatement. Let me just say that I was most definitely not disappointed. This is such a good book about someone that has often been maligned after her untimely death.

When I was in high school, I read a non-fiction book of love
...more
Chrissie
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
On Completion:

By the end of the book my heart melted and I did feel empathy for Zelda. For Zelda, but not Scott. If the book is giving you trouble and if what you are looking for is understanding of and empathy for the characters continue to the end.

Yet, I cannot give the book more than three stars. Why?

The first thing I did on completing the book was to search the web for more information about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (1900—1948) and F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940). There are two camps - those
...more
Lauren
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
I hate to say it, but I didn't like this book. I started out with such high hopes: I love Zelda Fitzgerald and I was excited to read a book about her! But the Zelda I knew and loved was not in this book. My Zelda was fiery, charming, tempestuous, spoiled, and selfish. She was mentally ill and her highs were higher than anyone elses'. She was the epitome of The Flapper. This Zelda was a pale imitation of the original, a namby-pamby sentimental girl that the real Zelda would've eaten for breakfast ...more
Diane S ☔
There is much to admire in this offering about Zelda, her life and of course her and Scott's lives. It is always great to read about this time period, all these writing greats, and always I am left wondering how if they were all forever broke, they managed to drink constantly and travel always. Of course it was hard to read of Zelda, her psyche crumbling and diagnosis of schizophrenia, her years in a mental facility.This is a well written book about interesting people who wrote many of the clas ...more
Phrynne
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
The first part of this book was delightful. Zelda came across as a very engaging, fun character and the story romped along with her. Scott Fitzgerald however was not presented in such a charming manner and once they are married and we have moved houses and countries with them a few times the pace of the book begins to slow and becomes just a little boring. The last part of the book is where the reader sits up and becomes angry on behalf of poor Zelda and what she has to go through. This is a fic ...more
Teresa
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Fitzgerald fascination began almost 30 years ago as a student when I read The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise and Tender is the Night swiftly followed up by Nancy Milford's excellent biography of Zelda. This new novelisation of Zelda's life is perfectly timed to coincide with the latest movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby and will hopefully stir more interest in this flawed but fascinating couple.

On the surface Zelda seems like a spoiled Southern gal with a taste for the finer things in
...more
Lou
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“SO WE BEAT ON,
BOATS AGAINST THE CURRENT,
BORNE BACK CEASELESSLY INTO THE PAST"

The young Scott Fitzgerald at only twenty-three years of age had been the youngest writer ever to publish a novel with Scribner. He fell in love with the youthful and joyful young southern girl Zelda. It all seemed quite a fairytale arrangement, an officer and a gentleman, youth, fame, and art. The pursuit of his art and his writing life became quite a stumbling block in Zelda’s life especially when she became a moth
...more
Luca
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Z a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is a biographical work of fiction by Therese Anne Fowler. The story takes off in Montgomery, the hometown of a seventeen-year-old Zelda Sayre, who meets soldier F. Scott Fitzgerald. He quickly manages to enchant Zelda, who has never met a professional writer before, and the two fall in love even though her father strongly disagrees with the match.

To me, this was a lovely and intriguing story that carried me away to a different time and different places. I truly see
...more
☮Karen
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When my husband took English lit. in college, he did a paper on F Scott Fitzgerald; and over the years he has talked about Zelda being this mad woman who was insanely jealous of Scott’s success, etc. Thus I really looked forward to reading this book, my first foray into Zelda’s world. Although not entirely factual, it is based on letters and known events researched by Therese Anne Fowler. I just loved Fowler’s rendering of the couple’s courtship and early years together. They both were intellige ...more
Jess
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I'm prefacing this review with the disclaimer that I acknowledged this book as a work of fiction right from the get go and relaxed into it as such. What I didn't expect was that it would be an impetus for me to scour the used book sites for biographies on both F.S. Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald. I have quite a stack to begin to sort through as well as an illustrated educational book on The Jazz Age to peruse. I'm fascinated by the couple, their writings, and am now eager to read accounts of th ...more
lorinbocol
la mamma del mio amico m. si chiamava zelda in onore suo, di zelda sayre fitzgerald. e non ha mai smesso di stupirmi la scelta di dare a una bambina il nome di una donna sicuramente affascinante, che però oltre ad aver molto vissuto ha anche molto sofferto. e sulla quale i pareri dei contemporanei (hemingway prima di tutti) sono passati dall'affinità all'antipatia, e sono stati parecchio controversi: zelda ora vittima di fsf, ora pazza scatenata.
in questo libro speravo di trovare qualche spunto
...more
Britany
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of Zelda Sayre is exciting, glamourous, chilling, and intriguing. This book is historical fiction, but I'd like to believe that it's more accurate to the true character of this amazing woman that was married to F Scott Fitzgerald.

The reputations of their relationship alone makes this one that any reader would be interested in picking up, for me, I couldn't put it down! (Which worked out well, as I was racing against time to finish it for a challenge by year end!) Zelda and Scott came a
...more
Vivian
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Vivian by: Ella
Even now, I wouldn't choose differently than I did.

For me, this was a fascinating biography. I entered it with little knowledge of anything beyond the works of her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald. As it turns out, that gave me an insight into their lives for many of his stories were thinly veiled, fictionalized versions of his dreams and demons. A golden couple of the Jazz Age that skated the edge for too long, the stress of reality and the Great Depression inevitably took a toll on them emotiona
...more
Kaylin (The Hiatus Queen)
3.5 Stars

Zelda Fitzgerald is someone everyone views differently and this book is no exception. RTC
Vanessa
Dec 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald should first and foremost be regarded as a semi-fictional account of the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald and her marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Although the main events of this book are real, proven instances from their tumultuous life together, the perspective put forward is at best imagined by author Therese Anne Fowler. If I had to compare it to another similar style of novel, I would draw comparisons to The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which tells a similar tale ...more
Patricia
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost wish I had never read Therese Anne Fowler's Z! It revealed more details about Scott and Zelda's screwed up lives and sadly lacking characters than I wanted to know. I always knew that F. Scott Fitzgerald was an alcoholic, and that Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was probably what would now be diagnosed as bi-polar. But, those serious conditions aren't the problem with Zelda and Scott - it's their plethora of personality and character flaws that make them like a Monet painting (and I'm stealing t ...more
Scott Rhee
Therese Anne Fowler's novel "Z", a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald and her tumultuous marriage with F. Scott Fitzgerald, may not add anything new to the body of biographical literature available, but for someone like me, who has never read a biography of Zelda or Scott Fitzgerald prior to this book, it is nevertheless a fascinating and enlightening view into the lives of the Fitzgeralds.

History and biographers, according to Fowler in her afterword, have not been kind to Zelda. Or Scott
...more
Cynthia
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Real Page Turner

Fowler brings the life and times of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to Technicolor brightness. This is a work of imagination but it reads as if it was literally true. There are so many legends and larger than fact stories about this couple yet, in “Z”, they come across as human and not stereotypes due to Fowler’s skill. A late 20’s woman who dreams of becoming a professional prima ballerina??? Zelda was eccentric (some would say mentally ill instead or in addition) but her longin
...more
Linda
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not good at reviewing books, basically I just write my thoughts to look back on.

This is a work of fiction told in the voice of Zelda Fitzgerald. After reading The Great Gatsby & The Paris Wife I wanted to know more about Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald. I read Guests on Earth by Lee Smith which is set at Highland Hospital in Ashville, North Carolina. Zelda would live there for periods of time beginning in the late 1930's & would die in the fire that occurred in 1945; one of 9 women. She
...more
christa
Mar 30, 2013 rated it liked it
How do you like your Zelda Fitzgerald: Wild child crack up, undoer of F. Scott or misunderstood artist under the thumb of a drunk narcissist? History has given us plenty of versions of the former. But Therese Anne Fowler’s “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” is the first I’ve seen that portrays feminine half of the Jazz Age’s hot celebrity couple -- Scelda, anyone? -- as a promising writer/painter/ballerina whose ambition keeps landing her in psychiatric care. In her fictional dramatization of actu ...more
Diana
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a life! And I mean that in both a negative and a positive way.

It's always interesting to read a book that takes place during this time frame. It amazes me how different life was for a woman back then. I couldn't even imagine living that way. There were many instances where my heart broke for Zelda and many of those instances occurred simply because she was a woman.

Even so, Zelda is portrayed as a strong woman who was likely misunderstood. In this book we are able to see some happy times a
...more
Michele Weiner
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I can't help but think Zelda would be mortified at the thoughts this woman put into her head. The portrait of this extraordinarily talented and troubled woman read like the inner life of a staid, matronly conformist upset that her husband was an alcoholic philanderer who stole her best writing. If only there was more from Zelda's own hand. She wrote a book about the disintegration of her marriage, for heaven's sake, and it's not the hand-wringing, poor me stuff in this book. Or not from what I'v ...more
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“If only people could travel as easily as words. Wouldn't that be something? If only we could be so easily revised.” 71 likes
“Won’t we be quite the pair?—you with your bad heart, me with my bad head. Together, though, we might have something worthwhile.” 42 likes
More quotes…