Villa America

Villa America[Read] ➵ Villa America By Liza Klaussmann – 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 succ 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 s 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 s New York the battlefields of WWI the birth of aviation the artistic explosion of s 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. This book a fictionalized biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy began with a great deal of promise I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the writing was thoughtful tasteful and sensitive toward the characters in the book The book rotates between what Gerald is experiencing what Sara is experiencing and the experiences of a completely fictional person named Owen Chambers I grew uite fond of all of them and could empathize with all of themHowever just over the half way mark there was a sudden change and it was not subtle For me it was a jolt I literally felt like I was tossed out of the book and struggling to find my way back in Rather than the sensitive and compassionate touch in the first part of the book I felt I was reading a tabloid – one where every bit of grit and grime and dirt and secrets were blown hither and yon; mostly into my eyesI want to emphasize that it wasn’t the subject matter that was so disturbing and distasteful ie the infidelities drunken brawls and scatter brained behavior of the “in crowd” who used to hang out at the Murphy’s Villa America on the French Riviera Nor was the subject matter dealing with Gerald Murphy’s alleged ambiguity about his sexuality in itself offensive What was disturbing was how it was presentedWe are told that he or she feels this way; we are told that this incident happened because that other occurred; we are told that so and so thought such and such about this or that person This was nothing like the first half of the book where we could make up our own minds about people’s thoughts and feelings by their actions Instead it was force fed and fully digestedI could go on with many other examples of “telling” such as the letters that were made up by the author – based on sometimes only one sentence isolated out of a real life letter Context is everything friendsI just deleted a whole other paragraph because really when all is said and done books are always going to be subjective However for me this one did not come up to par because it felt like it was written by two different people and the second person seemed to do everything possible to alienate me the reader It wasn’t a great feelingPersonally I can’t whole heartedly endorse this book or recommend it to my friends It started at a solid 4 Stars and gradually trailed down to 25 Where I come from we round up so it’s 3 Stars even though I am tempted to go with 2 The novels of the Jazz Age have such a special atmosphere if done well This age produced so many fine writers and artists whose works endure even now Gerald and Sara Murphy are a couple I had read about in other novels but really didn't know very much about In this novel Klaussmann centers on this time period by focusing on their relationship their friends their struggles and the wonderful time they had at Villa America in the French RiveraThe Murphy's were friends were well liked by Dom Passos Hemingway Pauline and Hadley the Fitzgeralds Cole Porter Picasso and many others All are included in this book The book starts with Gerald's and Sara's childhood and moves on to their marriage their family and why they built Villa America There they were golden happy loved threw parties made trips attended the bull fight and running of the bulls with the Hemingways and tried to be the best they could be I am always amazed at the prodigious amount of alcohol they all drank This book is well and atmospherically written A time of excess of divorces and changing relationships yet the Murphy's stayed together and raised their family So much of it is based on real people and things that happened to them and with them The Gerald's time in the sun would come to an end domestic heartbreaks would send them away from Villa America never to return The ending of the book is one I loved though some may not I thought it was brilliant An authors note detailing where facts were sourced and what was real and what was fiction is included Like all good books this book will lead me to three others one Tender is the Night is apparently modeled after and dedicated to the Murphys Also a few nonfiction books mentioned by the author in the afterword Recommend for all fans of this time period the Great Gatsby and any of the others mentioned in my review I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am sorry it endedARC from publisher In her second novel Klaussmann explores the glittering tragic lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy real life models for F Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night The book is slow to start with with the first third unnecessarily devoted to Gerald’s and Sara’s childhoods and courtship It is not until the Murphys are established in France and receive visits from fellow artists that the book really comes to life It is easy to see why the Murphys attracted hangers on Yet beneath the façade of glamour there is real sadness and struggle Gerald’s uncertain sexuality is a tacit issue between him and Sara and sickness strikes the family with cruel precision The novel set up a beautiful contrast between happiness and tragedyNon subscribers can read an excerpt of my full review at BookBrowse Readalikes• Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler• Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood• Circling the Sun by Paula McLain 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 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 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 thisGerald 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 eraHere 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 cloutFor 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 DepressionTypically a fan of epistolary method of writing but I didn’t enjoy the last bits of this book I wanted to read 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 35 starsI liked this for the most part I'm a fan of the 1920's and hearing about the Lost Generation always captures my interest They were such a fascinating group the Fitzgeralds Hemingways Picasso etc After reading this I now know about another the Murphys Which I honestly didn't know too much about They kinda had a sad life after years of being favored The book was well written but I wish the character of Owen hadn't been in the book Lost a little steam with him in it Overall I liked the story but I just didn't love it Liza Klausmann bestselling author of TIGERS IN RED WEATHER transcends the historical biographical novel to present a radiant engrossing account of Gerald and Sara Murphy real life inspirations for the Divers in F Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night whose fabled marriage and years long stint as premier hosts of American ex pats and other famous figures of the Jazz Age in their Villa America on the Riviera concealed anguish secrets and ultimately devastating loss Framing their story through the fictional character of Owen Chambers a pilot wounded in WWI whose detachment toward the world hides a yearning to belong somewhere helps the reader slip into the cocktail drenched ambiance of this privileged couple and their carousel friendships with unstable Scott and Zelda Fitgerald portrayed here with sensitive pathos virile but judgmental Hemingway and his unhappy wife Hadley Don dos Passos Ellen Barry and many luminaries of the era While at moments the novel can feel overpopulated Klaussman keeps her narrative grounded in Owen his initial reluctant attraction to the Murphys' bohemian laissez faire gradually growing into a consuming forbidden love that threatens the couple's carefully constructed marriage Owen feels real in a world where so much is fleeting where the looming shadow of WWII will blow apart the jaunts to the beach and poached eggs on the terrace heralding the end of a time that is now tinted by the rose colored bulb of nostalgiaThat said Klaussman's portrait of the Murphys is masterfully crafted Gerald is an intelligent sensitive man at odds with himself adoring and adored by his greathearted gregarious wife Sara but torn asunder by his longing for a different kind of love Sara too glides across the pages as a liberated woman of the 1920s freed from her slumbering existence as the constrained daughter of an upper crust New York family to indulge her talent for bringing disparate people together across champagne and caviar laden tables Their marriage the deep rooted love between them is something to behold; and Klaussmann wisely avoids dissecting it too much It simply exists like a force of nature which nothing can rupture but it also carries its sorrows and grievances the tiny sacrifices that accumulate over time and make something seemingly perfect less so yet also beautiful much like grains of sand in an oyster can create a pearlThe first part of the novel moves at a leisurely pace as we meet Sara Gerald and Owen in their youths the threads of their differences weaving together as the frenetic middle part takes hold and we're plunged into the bonhomie of the Riviera The scenes at their Villa America burst with chatter and depth particularly when in the throes of visits from the Fitzgeralds The last part can feel distant told mainly through letters but it's a deliberate choice for by then letters are all these people have as the realities of the present erase their past and they are faced with what was lost and what is leftThis novel lingers I found myself thinking about it for days after I finished it I enjoyed Miss Klaussmann's first novel but found it remote and mannered to a certain degree Here she forgets the need to write beautifully and allows her characters to take over resulting not only in an exuisite homage to the couple whose generosity defined their era but also a paean to a lost time and an indictment of the suffering that men like Gerald and Owen and thousands of others underwent because of societal judgment Though the Murphys have starred in other books VILLA AMERICA captures them as others have not and it's a testament to the author's passion for her subject I'm glad this has been my commute audio book for the last week as I suspect if I'd read it I'd have dnf'd It's very uneven and unfocused Klaussmann has done her research and boy she wants us to know it Everything she's read is crammed in here relevant or not and the result is a hotchpotch of stories and a skipping around in PoV breathtaking in its inconsistency The first third or so is the rather dull childhoods and courtship of Gerald and Sarah as well as the early life of an invented character whose function is to test Gerald's sexuality and their marriage Only then do we arrive at the eponymous villa on the Riviera Sadly it's name dropping 'Ernest Hemingway is coming for dinner' than anything else with rather cartoonish caricatures of Scott and Zelda Ernest caught between Hadley and Pauline Pablo Picasso and Cole Porter It's a shame as there are moments when the writing conveys intimacy and desire but then it retreats to panoramic gossip mag mode There are some odd narrative decisions too telling us the end from the beginning then just stopping rather than bringing the story to a close So structurally this is baggy and shapeless and the main content doesn't tell us anything we didn't know before Still it's easy listening and not a problem if you lose listening concentration the story is simple enough and familiar enough to survive I've always been fascinated with and have read many books about both fiction and non fiction the various literary scenes Bloomsbury the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s and 30s the Weimar Republic in Germany between the wars and the Lost Generation This book purports to be a novel about the Lost generation so I was all excited and really looking forward to reading it and finding out about Hemingway Fitzgerald et al Unfortunately I am almost 200 pages into this book and so far it is nothing but a love story about Sara and Gerald Murphy who while important to the Lost Generation scene I really am not interested in reading hundreds of pages of a love story regarding them So very disappointed I'm giving up on this book If you like romance this book is for you But if you're looking for new perspectives on the artists writers etc who rose to fame around the time of World War One this book is not going to help you there Historical fiction based on Sara and Gerald Murphy who Scott Fitzgerald used as a basis for Nicole and Dick Diver in Tender is the Night The Murphy's built a house on the French Riviera Villa America where they entertained the in crowd of artists and writers of 1920's post war America Sara wafts about in a haze of fashion and perfume organising the most amazing parties for these fashionista friends The fictional character of Owen Chambers is introduced by LK to bring an added element to the story around the sexuality of Gerald whose relationships were rumoured but nothing was ever documented No doubt well written and there is a certain sophistication to the work makes me sound exceedingly pompous and a I don't mean to be but what was most interesting about the Murphy's was who they knew I decided after reading The Paris Wife I didn't like Hemingway much and his portrayal in this was just as obnoxious I didn't like the Fitzgerald's much either LK created a decent story but I think she loved these characters than me Parts of it dragged especially the letters the sadness for the Murphy's at the end endeared me a little to them but they were really uite superficial For me not as good as Tigers in Red Weatherwhich was one of my fave reads of last year so this only gets 3 from me Villa America a work of historical fiction is the story of Sara and Gerald Murphy an expat American couple who were part of the Parisian “Jazz Age” literary coterie The Murphy’s built a house on the French Riviera Villa America where they entertained their friends Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemmingway John Dos Passos Archibald MacLeish Dorothy Parker as well as Pablo Picasso and Cole Porter Gerald’s Yale roommate Fitzgerald dedicated Tender is the Night to Sara and Gerald and claimed to have based Nicole and Dick Diver on them There is plenty of history here some of which is recognizable from The Paris Wife and A Moveable Feast but Klaussmann has inserted a fictional protagonist and created a story that becomes the overarching plot of the novel It focuses on Gerald and Sara and specifically Gerald’s relationships about which some things are known but very little is documented While Klaussmann is successful in creating a cohesive story I felt that it dragged a bit and I was always engaged when the action involved one of their illustrious friends particularly if it was scene such as the running of the bulls in Pamplona that was familiar to me from other pieces of literature In the end of the day what was most interesting about Gerald and Sara is not what they were but who they knew

Hardcover  Ù Villa America Epub ¿
  • Hardcover
  • 432 pages
  • Villa America
  • Liza Klaussmann
  • 01 November 2016
  • 9780385677516