Friday, November 16, 2018

the last book I ever read (Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby, excerpt one)

from Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of the Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell:

His wife, chic, provocative Zelda, was considered a great beauty, a woman of “astonishing prettiness,” although it is agreed that photographs never did her justice, failing to convey “any real sense of what she looked like . . . A camera recorded the imperfections of her face, missing the coloring and vitality that transcended them so absolutely.” Zelda’s honey-gold hair seemed to give her a burnished glow and her ├ęclat was soon legendary.

Her greatest art may have been her carefully cultivated air of artlessness; Zelda understood the aesthetics of self-invention. The flapper was an artist of existence, Zelda said, a woman who turned herself into her own work of art, a young and lovely object of admiration. Her behavior was calculated to shock. Meeting Zelda for the first time nine days after her marriage to Scott, his friend Alec McKaig wrote in his diary, “Called on Scott Fitz and his bride. Latter temperamental small town, Southern Belle. Chews gum—shows knees. I do not think marriage can succeed. Both drinking heavily. Think they will be divorced in 3 years. Scott write something big—then die in a garret at 32.”

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