The Sunday Salon: A Tale of Two Zeldas

The Sunday


I haven’t seen the remake of The Great Gatsby, and I’m not sure I want to.

The trailer scares me a little.

I cut my cinematic Gatsby teeth on the 1974 version, with Robert Redford/Mia Farrow, all shimmery pastels and brooding looks accompanied by Nelson Riddle’s score. I loved everything about that movie – I was 18 after all, and it was so romantic.  Baz Lurman’s remake, with all it cinematic special effects and hopped up score frightens me.

Until I make a choice, I’m indulging my long standing interest in everything pertaining to the Fitzgeralds, and reading two recently published books about Zelda Fitzgerald, the fascinating woman who lived with F. Scott during his tumultuous and reckless writing career.

Z, A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Fowler, is straightforward bio-fic (biographical fiction), imagining Zelda and Scott’s courtship and early years of marriage. I raced through it, getting a great photographic portrait of this couple’s marriage.

Ericka Robuck’s Call Me Zelda comes at the subject from a slightly different angle. Robuck introduces a fictional psychiatric nurse who is Zelda’s caretaker at the mental hospital in Baltimore. I love this approach, because the novel gives the reader a two-for-one story as we meet this very interesting character who has a story of her own to tell, one that seems to intersect in interesting ways with Zelda’s.

I’m glad I decided to read them in the order I did  (Z first, followed by Call me Zelda), because I have the background on Zelda’s entire life from Fowler’s book to illuminate all the corners of Robuck’s novel, which focuses on a briefer span of time.

Both books are great ways to satisfy an interest in this fascinating woman.

What are you reading this Sunday?


10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: A Tale of Two Zeldas

  1. Yeah, I might give that a pass, or wait till it’s on video. Your books both sound great — I’ve always been fascinated with that period and them in particular. Always felt more Fitzgerald that Heminway in liking his material and in some ways, Zelda was part of that. She is such an intriguing woman. It has been a long time since I’ve read about them and the Murphys, but these both sound worth reading and something I’d enjoy.

  2. I saw the movie yesterday. Don’t be afraid. It was fast and it was glamorous (I did not see the 3D version) and funny in parts. We know that Gatsby did everything for Daisy. I thought Dicaprio portrayed what E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. meant. I’d like to re-watch the 1974 film now!

  3. I remember the Redford/Farrow version, but haven’t seen the latest version. Maybe when the video comes out. I just finished Defending Jacob… disturbing and sad.

  4. Pingback: From the Desk of Phylis Johnson: Heather Laine Talley: Zelda Wasn’t ‘Crazy’: How What You Don’t Know About Fitzgerald Tells Us Something About ‘Crazy’ Women, Then and Now | Hey Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite!

  5. Not interested in the movie. But, I did read The Paris Wife and got a glimpse of them, but not much. Which book of the 2 do you highly recommend??? I am wanting to read one, but not both…at least not right now. Thanks!

    • If you’re not a huge Fitzgerald groupie, I would go with Call Me Zelda because it has a very interesting and poignant side story and characters. It’s not totally focused on Zelda, but on her relationship with this fictional nurse who has an interesting story of her own.

  6. Pingback: Wednesday Weekly | pattyspaperbacks

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