The Great Gatsby

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?