Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Long Look at the Lost Generation

If you're a fan of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, or Picasso, you'll be amused to find all these characters and others putting in an appearance in this long novel.

Sara and Gerald Murphy are expats living on the Riviera in the early 1920s after the First World War. They're wealthy, sociable and devoted to each other and their children to the extent that they inspire jealousy in some of their friends. The era is depicted well from the late 1800s when Gerald and Sara meet to the early 1900s when they've established themselves on the French Riviera.

The first half of the book is devoted to the strict families Gerald and Sara grew up in. They fight through the restrictions of their time and eventually marry. This is almost a standalone historical romance. As part of the book, I thought it was too long with too much backstory and too much description.

The second half of the book focuses on the Murphy's life on the French Riviera. Here we meet their famous and not so famous friends and glimpse the glamorous life style of wealthy Americans in that era. Behind the glamour of the parties, the Murphy's marriage matures with some surprising twists.

I enjoyed this book because I find the lost generation fascinating. However, the book is very long. The first half was particularly slow going into detail about life in the late 1800s.

The pace picked up slightly in the second half of the novel. Some of the attraction was the famous people who fell under the Murphy's spell. The portrayal of these characters is realistic from what I've read. Zelda and Scott are particularly well portrayed with their frighteningly fraught marriage and uninhibited drinking.

The book has many things to recommend it, but if you want a quick read, this is not it. If you want to savor the 1920s on the Riviera, you may enjoy it.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.