Villa America

Villa America

A Novel

Book - 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.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books/Doubleday Canada, c2015
ISBN: 9780385677516
Branch Call Number: KLA
Characteristics: 426 p. ;,24 cm


From the critics

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Dec 12, 2017

I was hoping for more. All the characters were interesting in their own right, but the combination was tedious. I am such a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the time period. It just had too many words.

Jul 24, 2016

This novel is very close to biography, which begs the question - why not just read one of the excellent biographies of the Murphys? Only Gerald's relationship with a veteran pilot seems to have been imagined by the author. The dialogue was sometimes clunky and the novel did not evoke the 1920 in its language, context or sensibility.

Mar 08, 2016

Villa America is a novel about Sara and Gerald Murphy, the always genial hosts, for the expat community in Europe during the 1920s. Their circle of friends included Hemingway plus his first wife, Hadley, and soon to be second wife, Pauline, Pablo Picasso, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, and Dorothy Parker. This story follows their lives from late childhood to early middle age (1898-1937) and ends with the deaths of their two sons, Baoth and Patrick. Most of the story takes place during the 1920s when the Murphys hosted their Dinner-Flowers-Gala parties which included many cocktails and much soul-searching about each others' lives, loves, and wealth. The story is a fascinating look at wealthy Americans living in Europe during the Jazz Age after the horrors of World War I.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Sep 01, 2015

This is based on the lives of the actual couple that inspired Fitzgerald's 'Tender is the Night', taking place at their villa in France in the 1920s. I appreciated that Klaussman made the (correct, in my opinion) decision to get a bit creative with the actual facts for the sake of a better story--something I wish more historical fiction authors would do. The very end of the novel gets a bit bogged down, in my opinion, under a series of letters offering a peek at what happened to characters in the years following the main action of the book, but overall I thought this was very atmospheric and an entertaining read.

debwalker Aug 05, 2015

"Villa America is an alluring and poignant novel that will appeal especially to Lost Generation fans as well as to readers seeking a satisfying story about the complexities of love, marriage and friendship." Shannon McKenna Schmidt, Shelf Awareness

Jul 10, 2015

A carefully written novel about American aesthetes Sara and Gerald Murphy, which stalled for me when it was closest to real events ; much of the writing is beautiful but there is something not quite right with the whole thing - does this novel need to exist at all? The author's afterword suggests the Murphy's story was one she just couldn't leave alone, acknowledging that Sara and Gerald's life stories have been told quite brilliantly elsewhere. I'm glad I read it, though, despite the mixed feelings.

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