Saturday, February 17, 2024

Zelda Fitzgerald


I'm not an expert on the relationship between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. And I don't know how much of Zelda's famous novel -- Save Me The Waltz -- Scott rewrote. All I know is that I was happy to read the novel last week, and that the first part, especially, is excellent. Part of what I liked so much was the introduction of a new voice: this is the interwar period, the expatriate era, from the perspective of a woman, a wife, a mother, an artist. Sure, Zelda's writing was ornamented -- with lots of flourish and song; but that didn't bother me: instead, I thought that flourish contributed to her successful evocation of Europe between the wars. The second half of the novel, in which Alabama Beggs transforms into a succesful dancer and travels to Naples for her first major show, continued many of the themes introduced at the start of the book: this part, though, was perhaps more predictable in its arc. Still, I thought the work stood up against critique, and that Zelda had created a complete novel, one full of character and emotion. Ultimately, Save Me The Waltz is a sad book full of regret and nostalgia (and some humor, too). As a contribution to the expatriate cannon, it certainly deserves a place. 

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