If you are a fan of 1920’s literary culture, The Lost Generation, Hemingway or the Fitzgeralds (F. Scott and Zelda), this book may be for you. The novel mixes fact and fiction together to create an interesting, atmospheric narrative of wealth and indulgence among an eclectic group of artists.
The main characters are Gerald and Sara Murphy, who are wealthy expats – living on the French Riviera just after the First World War. In fact, the Murphys are not just characters; they’re real people who really did live in the time and place described. In the 1920’s they escaped to the South of France and built a home which they called Villa America. It was here that they hosted lavish and glamorous parties with famous guests they befriended such as Ernest Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker, and countless others.
Celebrity name dropping aside, the book eventually focuses on the life that Sara and Gerald built together along with their three children. The Murphy’s home and marital relationship would later become the inspiration for Fitzgerald’s novel, “Tender Is the Night”. Unfortunately, tragedy and loss enter the couple’s life and threatens to destroy everything they’ve built.
All in all, this was an interesting look at wealthy Americans of the roaring 20’s as we read fictionalized accounts of their friendships, flaws and desires. Although a very long read, this book is worth the trouble for anyone who has an interest in that “Lost Generation” era.
Order in Bibz.