Everybody Was So Young: Gerald And Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story

by Amanda Vaill

Crown Publishing Group | April 20, 1999 | Trade Paperback

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald And Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story is rated 4 out of 5 by 2.

A dazzling biography for readers of The Great Gatsby and other Lost Generation authors

Gifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the Murphys lived and the fascinating friends who flocked around them. Whether summering with Picasso on the French Riviera or watching bullfights with Hemingway in Pamplona, Gerald and Sara inspired kindred creative spirits like Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald even modeled his main characters in Tender is the Night after the couple. Their story is both glittering and tragic, and in this sweeping and richly anecdotal portrait of a marriage and an era, Amanda Vaill "has brought them to life as never before" (Chicago Tribune).

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 8 × 5.23 × 1.1 in

Published: April 20, 1999

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0767903706

ISBN - 13: 9780767903707

Found in: Art and Architecture, Literary
The title of this book alone was enough to make me pick it up. And, as it is set in a period I adore -the '20s - I easily fell deeply into this richly written biography about Sara and Gerald Murphy. Their names might not, at first blush, ring a bell. But if you were part of the avant garde cultural scene of the '20s, you would know them to be the most desired of all dinner guests. Gerald was a painter who, though never able to achieve the fame he may have deserved, was well respected by other painters of the day, including his good friend Picasso. Sara was, among other things, the muse for characters in stories by Hemingway and Fitzgerald. The Divers in Fitzergerald's famous Tender is the Night were fully fashioned after Sara and Gerald. They were both cultured, intelligent, appropriately wilful for their ages, and living life as people in their twenties do, like it would go on forever. The story takes us from the east coast of the United States to the beaches of the Riviera and richly reveals so much about both the Murphys and their time. I felt, reading this story, that I was there at parties and discussions with people who emerged as icons of the day - Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, Cole Porter and others I have already mentioned. In a way, the book brings us in close touch with another generation that had much in common with the '20s, the '60s: a time to challenge convention, stretch boundaries, reach for the stars. But, as noted in a good review of the book: "we also see, that no one really leads a charmed life". The Murphys dealt with many daily travails, including the worst - losing a child. In many ways, this tragedy was also their loss of innocence. The book would be wonderful as fiction, but as a true and beautifully written biography, it is a great story, told by a truly talented writer.

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Story, Told by a Truly Talented Writer The title of this book alone was enough to make me pick it up. And, as it is set in a period I adore -the '20s - I easily fell deeply into this richly written biography about Sara and Gerald Murphy. Their names might not, at first blush, ring a bell. But if you were part of the avant garde cultural scene of the '20s, you would know them to be the most desired of all dinner guests. Gerald was a painter who, though never able to achieve the fame he may have deserved, was well respected by other painters of the day, including his good friend Picasso. Sara was, among other things, the muse for characters in stories by Hemingway and Fitzgerald. The Divers in Fitzergerald's famous Tender is the Night were fully fashioned after Sara and Gerald. They were both cultured, intelligent, appropriately wilful for their ages, and living life as people in their twenties do, like it would go on forever. The story takes us from the east coast of the United States to the beaches of the Riviera and richly reveals so much about both the Murphys and their time. I felt, reading this story, that I was there at parties and discussions with people who emerged as icons of the day - Lillian Hellman, Dashiell Hammett, Cole Porter and others I have already mentioned. In a way, the book brings us in close touch with another generation that had much in common with the '20s, the '60s: a time to challenge convention, stretch boundaries, reach for the stars. But, as noted in a good review of the book: "we also see, that no one really leads a charmed life". The Murphys dealt with many daily travails, including the worst - losing a child. In many ways, this tragedy was also their loss of innocence. The book would be wonderful as fiction, but as a true and beautifully written biography, it is a great story, told by a truly talented writer.
Date published: 2007-09-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Money Does NOT Buy Happiness A very interesting read that leaves you somehow empty when you finish. I was enthralled by the people Sara and Gerald knew, and the lives that they led. Yet somehow also felt that they were always looking for something that they did not have - they constantly moved from one apartment or house to another, they had many friends, however many of them also relied upon them for money when they needed it (and appears that they were never paid back). I wonder if they had found themselves to be destitute, if their friends would have helped them, or would their usefulness would have expired. I enjoyed the book but felt that reality was too hard for Sara and Gerald- they always seemed to need a vacation from their somewhat empty life which only became most obvious as they lost more famiy. Their life probably looked grand and exciting, but I have a feeling that most of it was like a practiced parade where the observers are really having the better time....
Date published: 2006-04-14

– More About This Product –

Everybody Was So Young: Gerald And Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story

by Amanda Vaill

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 512 pages, 8 × 5.23 × 1.1 in

Published: April 20, 1999

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0767903706

ISBN - 13: 9780767903707

Read from the Book

Prologue: Antibes, May 28, 1926 It was their friend Scott Fitzgerald who described the Murphys best, on the beach at Antibes in the south of France, in the summer sun of the 1920s. There is Sara, her face "hard and lovely and pitiful," her bathing suit "pulled off her shoulders" and her brown back gleaming under her rope of pearls, "making out a list of things from a book open in the sand." And there is Gerald, her husband, tall and lean in his striped maillot and a knitted cap, gravely raking the seaweed from the beach as if performing "some esoteric burlesque," to the delight of the little audience of friends they have gathered around them. On the "bright tan prayer rug of the beach," they and their friends swim, sunbathe, drink sherry and nibble crackers, trade jokes about the people with strange names listed in the "News of Americans" in the Paris Herald: "Mrs. Evelyn Oyster" and "Mr. S. Flesh." Their very presence is "an act of creation"; to be included in their world is, Fitzgerald says, "a remarkable experience." Fitzgerald wasn''t literally portraying the Murphys, of course; he was writing a novel, called Tender Is the Night , about a psychiatrist named Dick Diver and his wife, Nicole. In the novel, the woman with the pearls is recovering from a psychotic break brought on by incest, and the man with the rake ends up losing his wife, his position, everything he most care
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From the Publisher

A dazzling biography for readers of The Great Gatsby and other Lost Generation authors

Gifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the Murphys lived and the fascinating friends who flocked around them. Whether summering with Picasso on the French Riviera or watching bullfights with Hemingway in Pamplona, Gerald and Sara inspired kindred creative spirits like Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Fitzgerald even modeled his main characters in Tender is the Night after the couple. Their story is both glittering and tragic, and in this sweeping and richly anecdotal portrait of a marriage and an era, Amanda Vaill "has brought them to life as never before" (Chicago Tribune).

From the Jacket

Gifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young--one of the best reviewed books of 1995--Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the Murphys lived and the fascinating friends who flocked around them. Whether summering with Picasso on the French Riviera or watching bullfights with Hemingway in Pamplona, Gerald and Sara inspired kindred creative spirits like Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Nicole and Dick Diver in Tender is the Night were modeled after the Murphys). Their story is both glittering and tragic, and in this sweeping and richly anecdotal portrait of a marriage and an era, Amanda Vaill "has brought them to life as never before" ("Chicago Tribune).

About the Author

Amanda Vaill is a writer and critic whose work has appeared in numerous national publications. This is her first book. She lives in New York City.

From Our Editors

A singular era comes vividly to life in this superb biography of two icons of the 1920's, Gerald and Sara Murphy. An elegant couple, the Murphys rubbed shoulders with Hemingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and many other stars of the literary and art scenes, particularly in Paris. Their remarkable story and intense marriage is the subject of Amanda Vaill's extraordinary biography, Everybody Was So Young, which chronicles the vivid and energetic pre-War era as much as the rich lives of these two people.

Editorial Reviews

"An exhaustively researched and brilliantly rendered biography."
--Los Angeles Times

"[This is] a marvelously readable biography . . . elegantly written."
--The New York Times Book Review

"A brilliant and wise account."
--San Francisco Chronicle

Bookclub Guide

Reader''s Companion to Everybody Was So Young© 1999 by Broadway Books.

1. Gerald and Sara Murphy were surrounded by artists and writers--from Cocteau to Dorothy Parker--who epitomized the modernist spirit of the 1920s. Was this accidental, or purposeful?

2. "The very rich are different from you and me," Scott Fitzgerald supposedly told Ernest Hemingway, to which Hemingway (who told this anecdote) replied, "Yes, they have more money." How well does each man''s statement apply to the Murphys?

3. "Only the invented part of our lives--the unreal part--has had any scheme, any beauty," wrote Gerald to Scott Fitzgerald in 1935. What parts of their lives did they "invent," and what parts were "the unrealistic things?" Do you agree with Gerald?

4. "Paris is bound to make a man either more or less American," Gerald Murphy told a newspaper interviewer in 1923. How was this statement true of Murphy, and of Cole Porter, Hemingway, MacLeish, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, and the other expatriate artists of the period? What was it about Paris that made it happen?

5. To the Murphys, their children were "the real foundation of our future happiness." How would you evaluate the Murphys'' role as parents? Were they attentive and caring or narcissistic and irresponsible? In what ways did both Gerald and Sara act as surrogate parents for their own contemporaries?

6. The Murphys'' marriage was severely tested by five decades, but it endured. Why? What were the pressures on it? And was their relationship truly "a love story"?

7. Sara Murphy had close relationships with at least three men besides her husband: Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso. Do you believe that these relationships were sexual or platonic? On what do you base your opinion?

8. "I was never happy until I started painting," said Gerald Murphy in 1956, "and I have never been thoroughly so since I was obliged to give it up." Why was he "obliged" to give up something he loved so passionately and which he did so well? Or was his statement misleading? Also, what hidden references to events or people in his life can you find in his pictures?

9. In A Moveable Feast, his posthumous memoir of 1920s Paris, Ernest Hemingway paints a cruel picture of the Murphys as the unnamed "rich" who seduced him into superficiality and infidelity. Why would he describe them in this way?

10. Are the Murphys just a footnote, or did they contribute something substantial to twentieth-century cultural history?

11. The media have often compared the 1990s to the 1920s. Judging from the social circles described in Everybody Was So Young, do you find many similarities between these decades? Are there any contemporary couples who have the Murphys'' role today?

12. Referring to Scott Fitzgerald''s Tender Is the Night, Sara Murphy said, "I hated the book when I first read it. I reject categorically any resemblance to ourselves or anyone we know--at any time." What differences and similarities do you see between the Murphys and Dick and Nicole Driver? Discuss the perceptions of the Murphys portrayed in Fitzgerald''s short story "Babylon Revisited," Ernest Hemingway''s The Sun Also Rises and "Snows of Kilimanjaro," Archibald MacLeish''s poem "Portrait of Mme G___M___" and his play J.B., and Pablo Picasso''s "Woman in White."

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