Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived an exciting life together fuelled by alcohol, in his case an almost unbelievable quantity. Their friends included most of the major literary talents of 1920's America. In this fine novel the author regales us with their steep ascent from the initial success of "This Side of Paradise", via the heady days and nights of New York, their travels to France, and then the decline that set in as money, talent, and luck started to run out. It will not be a new story to many readers but it is written from a new point of view. The author does not 'take sides' but she does write, first person, in Zelda's voice and gives us her perspective. As is the case in life this changes as time passes by and inevitably is more or less reliable. This short life was full of drama, exciting, driven by emotion, ambition, love, and success and failure. Zelda's own needs for fulfilment and her conflicts with her driven, narcissistic, monumentally talented husband are well assimilated. It does not quite read like autobiography because that would normally involve a greater degree of self-justification, which the author avoids. Therese Anne Fowler has extraordinary control over a vast amount of material, giving us a fresh perspective on an oft-repeated tale. For me the novel was a pleasure to read. The production values of "Two Roads" are impeccable. One essay by Elizabeth Hardwick reviewing Nancy Milford's biography of Zelda ("American Fictions" Modern Library 1999), is not mentioned. Hardwick ends by writing:
"In the end we feel about Zelda Fitzgerald just what De Quincey felt for Dorothy Wordsworth: "respectful pity."
After reading "Z" I could add "considerable admiration" and even "affection." But how Zelda put up with that husband of hers remains a mystery to me!