“The hype surrounding George Saunders’s Tenth of December in the early days of the calendar year was kind of staggering. The backlash followed not long afterwards, when it was suggested that someone who can’t seem to accrue enough pages to pen the Great American Novel couldn’t actually be considered the writer of our time. This makes me cringe — maybe because I’m beginning to suspect that it’s true.”
You might think, then, that the people who know Fitzgerald’s novel best would have the most disapproving view of the movie. To test that hypothesis, we asked five English professors who specialize in American literature to take in an early showing and share their thoughts. And to our surprise, they liked it.
I am consistently drawn in, and consistently disappointed, by bio-novels about women made unhappy by famous men. I read The Paris Wife, about Hadley Hemingway. I read Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s mistress. I read the diaries of Sofya Tolstoy. And now I’ve read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I put each of them aside a heavy sigh when I’ve finished. I’m not disappointed in the books, but in the lives of the women. The point of these books is to tell their side of the story, but in reality, and definitely in Zelda’s case, they didn’t get their own side of the story.
“Paradoxically, this is the reason to write and read about Zelda [Fitzgerald], because she deserved a life much more interesting than the one that she got. Interesting to her, that is, a life she could have given her energy and talents to, not just a life made interesting by famous friends and European capitals.” - Janet Potter
The Trajectory of Dreams is a wholly original and fearlessly dark novel, an interesting combination of psychological thriller and character study. In Lela White, Wolverton has created one of the most haunting unreliable narrators I’ve ever come across. Lela’s illness is a curtain between herself and the world. She can see through only dimly. She feels and sees things others don’t — “A howling rose out of the pavement and wound around my ankles” — and Wolverton is at her best in her depiction of the queasy mismatch between Lela’s perceptions and what the reader knows or suspects to be true.
Avoid passive voice. When you write in the passive voice you sound like a landlord or a lawyer; you sound like you mean to avoid responsibility. Is that true? Do you eschew responsibility? Were you up until four a.m. writing on the walls of girls’ Facebook pages before you started this paper?