Z by Therese Anne Fowler

Cover of Z

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Published on: March 26, 2013
Page Count: 384
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Reading Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com using a monthly credit.
Audiobook Published by: Macmillan Audio
Narrator: Jenna Lamia
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 36 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

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 brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

My Review

Spring of 2013 was the season of Zelda Fitzgerald. She was everywhere I turned, tempting me to read about her life. Knowing that both Therese Anne Fowler and Erika Robuck were publishing novels about her life, I decided to read Z first as it started with her earlier life. I enjoyed coming to Zelda at the beginning of her relationship with F. Scott Fitzgerald. I got caught up in the new love that betrayed no hint of the emotional roller coaster that was to come as a result. As they began to believe their own hype, their world began to crumble. I crossed my fingers in hopes that they would return to what made them lovers, what made them whole. Fowler’s storytelling was excellent, making me feel as if I were a close friend, not separated by 100 years.

Jenna Lamia is an excellent narrator. I chose to read this book in audio after learning that she worked on it. She sparkled in Looking For Me and she continued to delight in Z. I listened to both of these audiobooks in a relatively short period of time and she fully embodied the spirit of each book that I could enjoy each audiobook for what they were. I loved both Lamia’s Zelda and her Scott. I could feel their youthful exuberance through her voices and the production was perfect. I am so glad I made the choice to pick this book up in audio. It was the perfect way to begin my season of Zelda.

Beginning with Z was the decision for me. I enjoyed every minute of this novel and knowing that Call Me Zelda would be there waiting for me when it was over softened the blow of its ending. This summer my sister attended an author event with Therese Anne Fowler and gave me an autographed hard cover copy that I am so proud to display on my bookshelves. It adds a touch of elegance and reminds me of how much I enjoyed my listening experience with Jenna Lamia.


  • At 2013.09.17 08:51, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    I read Call Me Zelda and wish I had started with this one. It’s Zelda’s background I want to know about.

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    • At 2013.09.17 10:56, Sandy said:

      I think you made the right choice based on everything I’ve read about the two books. And Lamia! She is incredible.

      • At 2013.09.18 12:11, Michele said:

        Oh whew. I zipped on over to my library hold list, on which I knew I had one of the Zelda books coming up for me soon, and much to my relief it is this one. Thank goodness! Now I will sleep better tonight knowing I chose well. 😉

        • At 2013.10.10 04:01, Call Me Zelda by Erika Robuck said:

          […] I read this summer. This book, which focuses on the second half of Zelda’s life, differs from Z by Therese Anne Fowler in that the story is told from a third party’s perspective. At the […]

          (Required, will not be published)

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