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Gatsby's Girl

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Description

Just as Jay Gatsby was haunted by Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fizgerald was haunted by his own great first love — a Chicago socialite named Ginevra. Alluring, capricious, and ultimately unavailable, she would become his first muse, the inspiration for such timeless characters as Gatsby's Daisy and Isabelle Borge in This Side of Paradise.

Caroline Preston's astute perceptions of her characters and the cultural landscapes they inhabit have earned her work comparisons to to that of Anne Tyler, Alison Lurie, and Diane Johnson. Now, in this richly imagined and ambitious novel, Preston deftly evokes the entire sweep of Ginevra's life — from her first meeting with Scott to the second act of her sometimes charmed, sometimes troubled life.

Ginevra was sixteen, a rich man’s daughter who had been told she was pretty far too often for her own good. Scott was nineteen, a poor boy full of ambition. They met at a country club dance in St. Paul, Minnesota, in January 1916. For almost a year they wrote each other letters — so long, breathless, and yearning that they often required more than one envelope.

But despite their intense epistolary romance, the relationship wouldn’t last. After throwing him over with what he deemed “supreme boredom and indifference,” she impulsively married a handsome aviator from the right society background.

Ruminating over what might have been had she picked the writer instead of the flier, she furtively reads the now famous Fitzgerald’s work. When she sees herself — much to her surprise — in his characters, it’s not just as the spoiled debutante he’d known; he’s also uncannily predicted the woman she’s become, cracks and all.

An affecting story of two people, one famous, one known only through her portrayals in enduring works of fiction, Gatsby’s Girl is a tremendously entertaining and moving novel about the powerful forces of first love, memory, and art.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 27, 2006 – Inspired by the ephemeral but intense historical romance between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his first love, Chicago debutante Ginevra King, Preston bases her sexy, self-centered title character both on Fitzgerald's crush and the female characters (Daisy Buchanan, etc.) for which she was his muse. Ginevra Perry is the spoiled 16-year-old expert flirt who catches Scott Fitzgerald's fancy in 1916 in this gracefully written if drifting novel. The first part of the book excerpts the earnest, epistolary romance between the Lake Forest, Ill., society girl and her less prosperous suitor while she's at boarding school in Connecticut and he's at Princeton. Fickle Ginevra ditches Scott for handsome but dull aviator Billy Granger, with whom she is doomed to a "dried-out husk" of a marriage, but privately continues to keep tabs on Scott while reading his novels for signs of herself in his female characters. This novel, which Ginevra narrates in a mannered, period voice, follows her into her late 30s and strives to echo the sense of loss and promise gone wrong found in Fitzgerald's books. Preston (Jackie by Josie) launches the story from a clever conceit, but the narrator's lack of self-reflection and the gentle arc of her cushioned if not always happy life make for a listless read.
Gatsby's Girl
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: May 06, 2013
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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