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Scott Fitzgerald follows the life of one of America's most enduring authors, from his early years in St Paul and at Princeton to New York in the twenties, the French Riviera, Baltimore, and finally Hollywood. Andrew Turnbull tells the story behind F. Scott Fitzgerald's THIS SIDE OF PARADISE, revised and finally published when he was twenty-four, making him instantly famous, and his tender love affair with Zelda Sayre, from their glittering early life to the years Zelda spent in and out of sanatoriums. A literary generation, too, comes alive, including Ernest Hemingway, Edmund Wilson and Edith Wharton. Fitzgerald lived on Turnbull's family estate in Baltimore in the early 1930s and there befriended young Andrew, then aged eleven. Turnbull's personal relationship with Fitzgerald and the hundreds of interviews with those who knew him elegantly capture the dramatic, tragic story of F. Scott and the glow and pathos of his flamboyant life.
Andrew Turnbull's re-issued biography has the distinction of being written by someone who knew Scott Fitzgerald personally. In 1931, the novelist rented La Paix, a house in Maryland belonging to Turnbull's family. Aged eleven, Turnbull played football with him as he relaxed while writing 'Tender is the Night'. Fitzgerald showing the first signs of baldness, would often sit and chat in a bathrobe. Zelda ' a boyish wraith' was always playing and dancing to 'Valencia'. The pair had already become the legendary couple of the Jazz Age. The book charts Fitzgerald's life from his upbringing in shabby gentility through his early success, lengthy peripatetic wanderings around Europe and downward slide into alcoholism. 'This Side of Paradise' published when he was in his early twenties, plunged him into a glittering world of celebrities. Feted everywhere, the couple partied with the likes of David Selznick, Edith Wharton, Hemingway, Norma Shearer and Ring Lardner. Fitzgerald wrote feverishly for money, trying to maintain a lifestyle that was beyond his means. He explained: 'I have never been able to forgive the rich for being rich and it has coloured my entire life and works'. Subsequent novels earned little and he would vanish on two and three day drunks. Zelda's breakdowns and the expense of keeping her in sanatoriums marred the later years. The former 'Golden Boy of American Letters' ended up in Hollywood, befriendedand sustained by Sheilah Graham. Approaching the end, Turnbull notes 'there was a greyness about him, a dust of the attic'. When he died suddenly of a heart attack, he was already thinking of himself as a forgotten failure. Many years elapsed before his unique contribution to literature on 'the American Dream' and the 'Crack Up' of a whole generation was fully recognised. Turnbull highlights the tragic and romantic elements of Fitzgerald's tumultuous life, seeing him as a poet who belonged with the Romantics, with Byron, Keats and Shelley. Unfortunately he also belonged to 'that race of word weavers' that had 'an instinctive wearkness for the bottle'. A fluently written, intelligent biography. A pleasure to read. (Kirkus UK)
Series: Vintage Lives
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st October 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.2 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 1