- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Overlook Books (April 29 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1468308807
- ISBN-13: 978-1468308808
- Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #866,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald Paperback – Apr 29 2014
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“If you’re looking for a Great Gatsby retelling with more substance than Baz Luhrmann’s latest, Beautiful Fools is it.”—Miami New Times
"Beautiful Fools [is] F. Scott’s story as well as Zelda’s, and a Fitzgeraldian wistfulness prevails. This approach to the Fitzgeralds’ story is the most successful of the bunch…With its contained arc and energetic plotting, Beautiful Fools takes the focus off more familiar episodes in the couple’s history."—New Yorker.Com
“…In Spargo’s hands, the Fitzgeralds emerge as fully human, if crazed and ruined characters. . . .as they trade back and forth a valueless currency of hopes, promises and vows of loyalty. This is as far from the fantasy of DiCaprio’s “Gatsby” as an asylum in Baltimore is from the Riviera, but it’s the one version of the story that resists the temptation to glamorize Scott and Zelda out of their humanity.”—Washington Post
"Beautiful Fools is the work of a genuine literary talent...Spargo’s characters transcend reality and become rich and fictional, and the novel, in the form’s paradoxical brilliance (at its best, as often here) speaks truth through invention. Spargo’s Fitzgeralds come alive."—The Spectator
"Spargo's book is richly imagined, and paints a delightfully detailed portrait of Cuba of 1939. It's a positively delicious travelogue."—Chicago Tribune
"Beautiful Fools skillfully evokes Cuba at the end of the 1930s, redolent of the music and scents and tastes of the tropics. Beyond the customary tourist haunts, adventure and danger seem to lurk in every bar and cafe, along every road and deserted beachfront…Writing in third person, and alternating between Scott’s and Zelda’s perspectives, Spargo describes the imperfect communion of two troubled souls who can’t quite let go of their past or each other."—Boston Globe
Praise for the work of R. Clifton Spargo:
"Here is a writer possessing the greatest talent: that of fully inhabiting the lives of others. Spargo conjures up these two as no one has done before. Scott and Zelda become, in Spargo's remarkable novel, not people of history but of literature, and reminders of what we fight for, what we fail to win, and the beauty that abides between. A marvel of a book." --Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Story of a Marriage
"In a voice both intimate and expansive, tender and shrewd, R. Clifton Spargo manages to do the near impossible: craft a story worthy of his iconic subjects." --Holly Goddard Jones, author of The Next Time You See Me
"Spargo's voice is entirely his own and is capable of articulating certain ranges of experience only rarely now available to us. At once we are in contemporary America and also in a timeless space of personal loss…His work seems to me marked for permanence." --Harold Bloom
"It takes a brave novelist to tackle Scott and Zelda, those mythic ghosts of the Jazz Age. Luckily, Spargo is more than just brave—Beautiful Fools is a vivid and revealing look at two charismatic, self-destructive people, and the love that sustained and ruined them. It's a real feat of historical imagination and novelistic empathy." —Tom Perotta, author of Election and Little Children
"Spargo writes with animation and fervor, a style conducive to the heat generated by his subjects." --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
R. Clifton Spargo is an Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is a novelist and critic who writes the HI/LO, a blog on the interplay between high and low culture, for The Huffington Post. Creator of "The Stories We Tell," a testimonial writing workshop sponsored by The Voices and Faces Project, he has published stories, essays and reviews in The Kenyon Review, The Antioch Review, Glimmer Train, SOMA, Raritan, Commonweal, The Yale Review, New City and the Chicago Tribune, among other places. He lives in Iowa City, IA.
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Spargo's portrayal of this famous husband and wife is beautifully rendered depicting Zelda's love for her husband and her attempt to keep any bitterness against him for past faults like not taking her dancing seriously and for writing abouther. Scott on the other hand, struggles to keep his drinking at bay for his wife's sake, his reckless behavior, his lies, his secrets.
This character driven story is a beautiful rendition of their lives, of lost love, of dying dreams, of the struggle to let go of the past. The author has given us an indepth look at the secrets and failures of this very fascinating couple.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Zelda is taking a leave from the institution where she lives, and Scott has left his final lover, Sheilah Graham in California. Zelda is trying desperately to revive their love and marriage, Scott driven by a queasy mix of ambivalence and the drive to his long term soul mate. Scott is an alcoholic and suffering his long term tuberculosis. Zelda has struggled with bouts of insanity. They both spend excess energy in the nostalgia of their early years. They had made the always losing bet on being the only ones not to get older.
Just as this fictional Zelda is drawn to books and movies portraying insanity, so do many of us aging children identify with the slow fading of infinite youth. Few of us have the renown and glow of the Fitzgerald's youthful promise, yet the story of the narrowing of choices is widely shared. The tragedy here is the failure to "get right after such escapades, and this book describes this dichotomy beautifully.