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Zelda's Cut

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Isobel Latimer, a writer known for her moral tales, is trapped by the confines of her puritan image. Not a sarcastic word can pass her lips in public. Not a single dress can show off the faintest traces of her figure. With a literary reputation to uphold and massive, increasing debts to keep secret, Isobel is about to crack-everyone wants a cut of her talent, her time or her money, but only she knows there's nothing left to give. At wit's end, Isobel and her agent, Troy, conspire to create a new Isobel, only this...
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Overview

Isobel Latimer, a writer known for her moral tales, is trapped by the confines of her puritan image. Not a sarcastic word can pass her lips in public. Not a single dress can show off the faintest traces of her figure. With a literary reputation to uphold and massive, increasing debts to keep secret, Isobel is about to crack-everyone wants a cut of her talent, her time or her money, but only she knows there's nothing left to give. At wit's end, Isobel and her agent, Troy, conspire to create a new Isobel, only this one is a taboo-breaking, uninhibited bombshell of an author named Zelda.

Author Biography: Philippa Gregory has a history degree from the University of Sussex and a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. A fellow of Kingston University, she lives with her family in Sussex, England.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Masquerading as a trashy novelist may solve English writer Isobel Latimer's financial problems, but it also plunges her into a full-fledged identity crisis in Gregory's flighty, overplotted novel. Isobel needs money to support her ailing husband, Philip, and his newfound interest in pool building, so when her agent, Troy Cartwright, informs her that her literary novels are earning less and less, she tells him, "If they won't pay me to write good books, then I'll just have to write bad." She and Troy invent the persona of Zelda Vere, a heavily made-up, well-dressed blonde bombshell, the opposite of 52-year-old country matron Isobel. Zelda's "survivor fiction," The Devil's Disciple, is a major hit that earns Isobel all the money she could ever need, but she finds herself increasingly caught between superego and id, between an unfulfilling loyal marriage and sexual experimentation with Troy. When Isobel sets off on her book tour with Troy, Gregory's plot takes an exotic and erotic turn, depicting a world of cross-dressing, cocaine and champagne. Returning to her home in Kent, Isobel finds Philip miraculously recovered and expending all his energy on the construction of an expensive new pool. Philip has also decided to invest (with Isobel's money) in the handsome pool man's business. Backstabbers reveal themselves, to no one's surprise, and Isobel's deliberations--should she stay or should she go?--are prolonged until an abrupt, bewildering denouement puts a stop to the runaway narrative. Gregory, a popular writer of historical fiction (Earthly Joys, etc.), knows whereof she speaks when she describes television interviews and book deals, though the over-the-top fantasy she spins from the details may test readers' patience. (Jan. 16) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Isobel Tucker is a prizewinning novelist, but recently her books haven't been making money. One reviewer hit the nail on the head:"People [today] want irony, action and dramatic self-development." Isobel needs money—her husband Philip is suffering from an incurable disease—and her agent Troy Cartwright advises her to write a trashy potboiler that will sell. So Isobel concocts a steamy novel about Satanism, revenge, and survival that's just the ticket. Troy's delighted and plans to auction the manuscript, but he needs a buzz for the press, so he and Isobel create Zelda Vere, a glamorous beauty with a blond wig, artful makeup, and sexy underwear. As Zelda, Isobel wows the editors, and her manuscript is auctioned for gobs of money. When Philip hires a sexy contractor to build a swimming pool in their backyard, Isobel finds being Zelda extremely satisfying—especially when Troy joins the fun. The sex gets kinky and intense, and both she and Troy find it hard to live their normal lives. And, since Gregory (Virgin Earth, 1999, etc.) intends this as a fable, bad things happen: Philip learns he's been conned by the pool man, and Troy disappears with the proceeds of Isobel's second novel. But Isobel, who's learned a thing or two from Zelda, knows exactly what to do. A witty and entertaining romp that sizzles with intellectual energy and frankness.... Howe, Fanny INDIVISIBLE Semiotext(e) (282 pp.) paperback original Jan. 2001
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312267049
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2014

    I loved this book!! Where can I find more with the same theme? I

    I loved this book!! Where can I find more with the same theme? I'm not interested in other books by Philippa Gregory, but this one was amazing,

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  • Posted September 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not what you would think from Philippa Gregory

    I knew before starting this wasn't your typical Philippa Gregory that we have come to love. But, I needed a Z title for my alphabet challenge and lets face it, there's not a lot to choose from. This book was a little bizarre and little racy. You have the author/housewife and her alter ego having an affair with her agent while they are both dressed in the alter ego's clothes. Add that to the disabled husband who suddenly improves while hanging out with the pool man. Plus, you have the constant discussions of money. It seems like everybody needs some (and by some I really mean large quantaties). What you get in the end is a twist of events that leave you slightly disturbed and thinking what just happened? I couldn't stop reading it though. You can see the end coming but you can't stop yourself from watching everybody fall in the process.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2005

    High Hopes Dashed

    Usually I love this author and was looking forward to this story a lot. However, I felt the main character was so weak-willed she ruined her own story. Maybe I'm biased becaues I like to read about strong women, but this was a woman of obviously high intelligence and zero confidence. She allows all the men in her life to stampede over her emotionally and never really demands what she deserves (forget about her TAKING anything for herself), not even as her alter-ego. Also, she comes off as a bit of a snob, but maybe that was just an intended intellectual stereotype. I'm not yet done with it, and while I'd like to finish it, it seems like a bit of a chore.

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