cover image Call Me Zelda

Call Me Zelda

Erika Robuck. NAL, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-451-23992-1

Robuck, who first explored the lives and loves of authors in Hemingway’s Girl, now turns to the tumultuous, codependent relationship of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s 1932, and Anna Howard, a nurse who lost her husband and daughter in the Great War, is assigned to work with Zelda when she’s committed to Baltimore’s Phipps Psychiatric Clinic. Soon she’s drawn into Zelda’s charismatic but deeply unstable orbit, going so far as to quit her job to become Zelda’s private nurse when she leaves Phipps. Anna’s relationship with the Fitzgeralds is fraught and all-consuming, causing her to turn away from her own family and friends even as it seems to help her find a way back to herself. Robuck effectively captures the Fitzgeralds’ turbulent marriage, as well as their inability to function—personally or professionally—beyond their jazz age heyday and into the Depression era. What is less convincing is Anna’s motivations for being so immediately and utterly drawn to the couple. Neither this nor Anna’s eventual recovery—in which her relationship to the Fitzgeralds helps her return to healthy life—are as well articulated as is the portrayal of the Fitzgeralds’ rocky romance. Agent: Kevan Lyon, the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (May)