Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Anne Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read Milford's biography of Zelda, this novelization of her life held few surprises. That's not a bad thing, by the way, it's merely an observation. Because this is a novel, with some supposition (Z's relationship with Hemingway, for example, or her feelings about Scott's alcoholic intake even in the early days) there are liberties that can be taken that a "real" biographer cannot take.
The writing style is interesting. At first it's light and bubbly, with a hint of steel... later, it becomes a little more confused but still steely. That seems to mimic Zelda's life, as her mental problems (what ever they were; the doctor's diagnoses then are not necessarily what we would diagnose now, and treatments have certainly changed in the intervening years!) increase. If this weren't based in fact it would seem like incredible (and incredulous) name dropping, however we know that the Fitzgeralds really did socialize with everyone who was anyone in Paris and France during the Jazz Age. Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" wasn't completely off the mark!
It was a little disappointing (to me, other readers will probably not notice or care) that the fact that she knew former slaves wasn't explored. The throwaway comment about emancipation meaning that you just had to pay the people for doing the job they did before was breathtaking.
ARC provided by publisher.