Villa America by Liza KlaussmannVilla America by Liza Klaussmann

Villa America

byLiza Klaussmann

Hardcover | August 4, 2015

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A dazzling and spellbinding novel about art, love and marriage--in the tradition of The Paris Wife and Above All Things.
     Sara and Gerald Murphy's good looks, talent for living and perfectly successful marriage breed both devotion and jealousy amongst their friends. But when Owen Chambers, an American aviator, arrives in their lives, the deep emotional fissures in Sara and Gerald's marriage reveal themselves and their lives change forever.
    Villa America is a fictional imagining of the real lives of Americans Sara and Gerald Murphy who, in the heady years of 1920s France, presided over a group of expatriate writers, painters, singers and dancers--including Pablo Picasso and Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos and F. Scott Fitzgerald. This dazzling cast of characters gathered together in the Murphy home in Cap d'Antibe, as both Sara and Gerald cast their elusive magic over all of them.
     Spanning 1890s New York, the battlefields of WWI, the birth of aviation, the artistic explosion of 1920s France, the Depression and the rise of fascism, Villa America charts the beautiful and tragic course of three intertwined lives to create a vivid portrait of a gilded age that couldn't last.
LIZA KLAUSSMANN is the author of Tigers in Red Weather, a Sunday Times Bestseller for which she won a British National Book Award, the Elle Grand Prix for Fiction and was named Amazon UK's Rising Star of the Year in 2012. A former journalist, Klaussmann was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent ten years living in Paris. She currently ...
Title:Villa AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:432 pages, 9.25 × 6.28 × 1.38 inPublished:August 4, 2015Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385677510

ISBN - 13:9780385677516

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic rendering of the life and times of the Murphys. Fantastic rendering of the life and times of The Murphys - glamorous expats who entertained the likes of the Fitzgeralds, the Picassos, the Hemingways and the Porters. I enjoyed the insights into the lives of these artists while they were on the brink of creating some pretty brilliant masterpieces. Oh and the delicious life that the rich have lived in the roaring twenties! I’ve always been a fan of books that force me to do a bit more than just to read what was written on its pages. I like it when I have to seek out meaning of unfamiliar words or research the locations and the historical figures that were mentioned. Villa America is just that type of novel. It is the story about the couple whose F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night was said to be loosely based on. Upon reading a bit more about the Murphys, I stumbled upon a group of literati also known as the “Lost Generation”. By definition, it is a group of artists that came of age during World War 1. The Murphys, in one way or another, had a hand in this. Gerald and Sara Murphy were expatriates who hosted the likes of Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda; Ernest Hemingway, and Pablo Picasso in their French Riviera home aptly called, Villa America. This novel tells the story of the social dynamics of this group; their relationships, temperaments, and the sexual freedom inspired by the era. Here, we find Gerald Murphy come to terms with his own, while Sara Murphy became the magnetic north of all the male compass within their circle. Set in the 20s, the world we’re introduced to was that of luxury, dinner parties, picnics, and extra marital affairs. And in Gerald Murphy’s case, an affair with a gay man. The Murphys were what you can consider as the centre of the universe for all the parties involve. They’re drawn to their wealth, their kindness, and influential clout. For all intents and purposes, Villa America is a semi-fictional account of their lives based on a number of books written by the remaining Murphys. It is a lovely rendering of the relationship that blossomed between Gerald and Sara. We also see the heartbreaks this couple suffered. They lost children; friendships were severed, and in Gerald’s case, a broken heart through a difficult decision he had to make. We also see them lose their wealth as most of Americans did during the Depression. Typically a fan of epistolary method of writing, but I didn’t enjoy the last bits of this book. I wanted to read more, and sadly, the letters were not sufficient enough. You’ll see some brilliant people in a different light. Zelda Fitzgerald was painted as a spoiled, needy wife, and Scott, an ugly drunk. Hemingway was as everything you’ve come to know about him. He likes women, but he doesn’t love them. Villa America is such a great read for fans of the era. It’s luxurious, lovely, and at times, heartbreaking.
Date published: 2015-08-29

Editorial Reviews

"Klaussmann is a nimble, clever writer who has managed to deliver a weighty story about art, love and the terrible fragility of dreams." —The Globe and Mail"A luscious, jazz-era read about the real-life, art-commune couple who were the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic Tender Is the Night." ―Toronto Star"Another sensitive fictional portrait of a complicated marriage from the author of Tigers in Red Weather. . . . Beautifully written and surprisingly fresh." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review"[Klaussmann] entwines her fact and fiction with a smooth, near seamless stitch, and the end result makes for exhilarating and moving reading." ―The Observer (UK) "Brilliant . . . In [Klaussmann's] skilful hands what could have been a clichéd love triangle becomes something much more complex, subtle and moving. . . . How vividly and freshly she renders even the most familiar stories, especially when it comes to the Fitzgeralds. . . . Her Scott and Zelda feel like real people, not jazz age caricatures. . . . A deeply moving portrait of a marriage and of a world." ―Irish Times (Ireland)"An enticing world, with its jazz-age parties, avant-garde bathing costumes and sexual freedom. . . . Klaussmann's compelling book does justice to this material." ―The Guardian (UK)"Villa America ranks as one of the summer's loveliest reads." —New York Daily News"[An] empathetic, beautifully written novel." —The Washington Post"As a direct descendant of Herman Melville, Liza Klaussmann has classic American literature in her blood. . . . Klaussmann's jazz age repartee is as fizzy as the cocktails and the Murphys' tragic denouement is affecting." —The Independent (UK)