Villa America: A Novel

Villa America: A Novel

by Liza Klaussmann


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A dazzling novel set in the French Riviera based on the real-life inspirations for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is The Night.

When Sara Wiborg and Gerald Murphy met and married, they set forth to create a beautiful world together-one that they couldn't find within the confines of society life in New York City. They packed up their children and moved to the South of France, where they immediately fell in with a group of expats, including Hemingway, Picasso, and Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.

On the coast of Antibes they built Villa America, a fragrant paradise where they invented summer on the Riviera for a group of bohemian artists and writers who became deeply entwined in each other's affairs. There, in their oasis by the sea, the Murphys regaled their guests and their children with flamboyant beach parties, fiery debates over the newest ideas, and dinners beneath the stars.

It was, for a while, a charmed life, but these were people who kept secrets, and who beneath the sparkling veneer were heartbreakingly human. When a tragic accident brings Owen, a young American aviator who fought in the Great War, to the south of France, he finds himself drawn into this flamboyant circle, and the Murphys find their world irrevocably, unexpectedly transformed.

A handsome, private man, Owen intrigues and unsettles the Murphys, testing the strength of their union and encouraging a hidden side of Gerald to emerge. Suddenly a life in which everything has been considered and exquisitely planned becomes volatile, its safeties breached, the stakes incalculably high. Nothing will remain as it once was. Liza Klaussman expertly evokes the 1920s cultural scene of the so-called "Lost Generation." Ravishing and affecting, and written with infinite tenderness, Villa America is at once the poignant story of a marriage and of a golden age that could not last.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316211352
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 756,085
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Liza Klaussmann is the author of  Tigers in Red Weather, an international bestseller for which she won a British National Book Award, the Elle Grand Prix for Fiction and was named Amazon UK's Rising Star of the Year in 2012. A former journalist, Klaussmann was born Brooklyn, New York and spent ten years living in Paris. She currently lives in North London. Villa America is her second novel.

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Villa America 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a very confusing book about too many people not the famous ones etc all had dysfunctional often horrible childhood and restrective growing up and emotional problems not solved by mony or talent if you downgraded to a summer cottage on a lake in minnesota it would have been the sane depressing story of deaths and psychosis why do drunks seem more glamours when you say lost generation?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating book, couldn't get enough of the Murphys! So interesting and fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This historical novel based upon real people is a great read. You will feel as if you are spying upon them. ~*~LEB~*~
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration: 3 Story: 5 Sara and Gerald Murphy moved to the south of France to play with the glitterati of the day: poets, painters and intellectuals all spent time at Villa America, a retreat in the south of France that recreated the excesses of the time with the bohemian ex-pat crowd. Klaussman creates the world with all of the glitz and glamour, giving a sense of the often frenetic, if not wholly hedonistic connections between all of the players. Focused more on Gerald, this recreation of what might have been, including affairs, revelries and plausible motivations gives a sense of being there, without the hangover or cleanup afterwards. A bit uneven in pacing, the author’s prose is lyrical and provocative, yet truly shines when the more ‘well known’ characters are occupying center stage. These were people with great secrets and passions, and not always known for good choices in their personal lives. While secrets often drive moments of the story, it is the drama as they are unearthed that keeps unfolding: some are real and documented, others are fabricated for the plot, but all are intriguingly plausible and possible. Bits of well-documented details and stories are incorporated, giving those familiar with this large and diverse group of creative personalities will recognize, and the action seems to never end. There is tarnish on the glitz, and to Klaussman’s credit, she reveals these moments with skill and care, only with the end do you see the retreat is truly only superficial, and real life does influence every moment. Narration for this book is provided by Jennifer Woodward and her ability to bring characters to life, with unique voices and delivery works well for the story. Introduced with a closure of sorts to the stories, the relative remove of the writing style and narrative performance work to keep the listener’s attention focused on the story as it reveals, gradually and logically, as each moment leads to the next, some transitions smoother than others, toward the end. An intriguing listen and perfect for fans of historic fiction that feels new and fresh, yet somehow familiar. I received an audiobook copy of the title via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago