A fascinating look at the autumn of 1922, when F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda returned to New York and the seeds for The Great Gatsby were sown
Since its publication in 1925, The Great Gatsby has become one of the world's best-loved books. Careless People tells the true story behind F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece, exploring in newly rich detail its relation to the extravagant, scandalous, and chaotic world in which the author lived.
With wit and insight, Sarah Churchwell traces the genesis of a masterpiece, mapping where fiction comes from, and how it takes shape in the mind of a genius. Careless People tells the extraordinary tale of how F. Scott Fitzgerald created a classic and in the process discovered modern America.
Sarah Churchwell is Professorial Fellow in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is Director of Being Human Festival and Living Literature, and she reviews widely.
[Sarah Churchwell] tells the story crisply and intelligently, judiciously deploying Fitzgerald's eminently quotable literary remains, and also Zelda's, which are often even better, in a sprightly, enjoyable and slightly strange book: part "biography" of the novel, part sketch of the roaring 1920s, part brief account of the second half of Fitzgerald's life. Churchwell is perceptive and well-informed — Guardian
A perfect book to read alongside The Great Gatsby. Excellent — William Leith, Evening Standard
This book has as much spirit as gin fizz cocktails — Lady
A treasury of new material. Churchwell adds considerably to our understanding of the early 1920s, and how life for Fitzgerald played into the development of his art . . . Engaging deeply with the facts on the ground, the richly chaotic matrix that was Fitzgerald's life, Sarah Churchwell's Careless People takes us back there — Jay Parini, Literary Review
A suggestive, almost musical evocation of the spirit of the time — Thomas Powers, London Review of Books
The wonder of Careless People . . . is that it rewinds the years and allows the reader to appreciate again just how well Fitzgerald reflected his times - Book of the Week — Nicholas Blincoe, Sunday Telegraph
Investigates subject after subject with subtle intelligence . . . you find yourself caught up in the excitement of her search - Book of the Week — John Carey, Sunday Times
A literary spree, bursting with recherché detail, high spirits and the desperate frisson of the jazz age — Robert McCrum, Observer