The Gatsby Affair: Scott, Zelda, and the Betrayal That Shaped an American Classic

Kendall Taylor. Rowman & Littlefield, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5381-0493-4
In May 1924, the continually indebted Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald fled to France in search of inexpensive living, with both devastating and inspiring results, according to this crisply narrated chronicle of lust and jealousy from Taylor (Sometimes Madness Is Wisdom). They found a villa on the Riviera, and while Scott worked on his writing, Zelda worked on her French, soon beginning an affair with the suave and handsome naval aviator Lt. Edouard Jozan. After just a few weeks, Zelda asked Scott for a divorce, only to have Jozan leave her abruptly. Taylor cites differences between manuscript versions to show that Scott worked these events into his novel in progress, The Great Gatsby, with Gatsby playing the role of Jozan and Scott himself as Tom Buchanan. She further argues that Scott also worked the affair into three short stories, “The Adjuster,” “Love in the Night,” and “Not in the Guidebook.” Taylor concludes by narrating how the Fitzgeralds’ marriage conclusively fell apart upon their return to the United States, with Scott openly conducting his own affair and Zelda descending into mental illness. Taylor’s work leaves readers with a colorful portrait of a stormy chapter in the Fitzgeralds’ life and its far-reaching consequences. Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Associates. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018
Release date: 08/01/2018
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