Call Me Zelda
In this novel, Erika Robuck looks especially closely at the mental illness Zelda experienced. In Baltimore’s Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where Zelda was admitted in 1932 after various stints in sanatoriums around Europe, she meets Anna Howard, a nurse who becomes devoted to her. Anna begins to wonder if Zelda is the true literary genius of the couple, but as she tries to emotionally save Zelda, the boundaries of their friendship become strained, while Zelda’s devotion to Scott continues, complex and unreliable as he is. Narrated by Zelda’s nurse, the novel is historically accurate in its depictions of Zelda and Scott and deals with the art of madness, and the madness of art.
Zelda Fitzgerald still has a hold on our imagination. Wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the writer who brought us The Great Gatsby, Zelda was a novelist and artist in her own right. In fact, Scott’s Tender is the Night is thought to have been largely ripped from letters between him and his wife. Today, many believe that Zelda Fitzgerald was a lost literary genius—there’s certainly no disputing that she influenced her husband’s writing—who’s been ignored largely because of her husband’s fame, as well as her own declining mental health and the subsequent stays in various institutions as doctors attempted to cure her schizophrenia.
In honor of Zelda Fitzgerald’s birthday, which falls on July 24, we bring you some books that are all Z.—rather than F. Scott—Fitzgerald.
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