With all the hype surrounding the Roaring Twenties and The Great Gatsby (namely the 2013 film interpretation of it), I was curious about some of the more prominent social figures who lived during that time.
So I picked up current best-seller Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Zelda, if you don’t know, was married to F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby) and it’s definitely a fun read.
As I haven’t finished the book, this isn’t a full review, but a recommendation to check it out before you see the Gatsby movie, opening May 10, and drool over all the incredible fashions.
Often called “The First Flapper,” Zelda inspired most of Fitzgerald’s stories and his main female characters. Born to a wealthy Southern family, the spirited and charming Zelda caught Scott’s attention at a local dance while he was passing through as a soldier.
They married and moved to New York City, where his work got noticed and the money started coming in. Then the fun began.
Scandalizing society, the increasingly famous couple led a wild, reckless, partying life. They caroused drunkenly in Central Park fountains, rode on top of taxis, and got kicked out of various “respectable” New York establishments (this was all during Prohibition). Fitzgerald spoiled his wife in the latest fashions from Paris, including short flapper dresses, furs, and long beads. As the tabloids chronicled her every move, women started to emulate her style.
What most people didn’t know, is that the sharp, witty Zelda was a writer in her own right. In a sign of the times, she often put her husband’s names on her stories. Earning a living to support their lavish lifestyle was paramount.
While The Great Gatsby takes place on the Gold Coast of Long Island (where the couple resettled after the birth of their child), Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald chronicles their decadent life in urban New York. At least that’s what I’m up to in the book.
The descriptions of the swanky hotels, shows and speakeasies are dazzling, as are the outfits Zelda dons for each event. I can’t wait till they go to Paris where they become part of the fabled ” Lost Generation,” chronicled in The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway and other expats in Jazz Age Paris.
I’m racing to finish the book before the movie comes out, as I’m hoping the to read about the inspiration and writing of The Great Gatsby.