Villa America by Liza Klaussmann

Villa America by Liza KlaussmannVilla America was, perhaps, my most anticipated read of the summer. I loved Liza Klaussmann‘s last novel, Tigers In Red Weather (review), so much. That plus the fact that Villa America recounts the life and times of Sara and Gerald Murphy and their famous friends, including Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso, and I felt certain that this book was going to steal the summer.

And Villa America is very good. It is everything you’d expect – a boozy summer read about writers behaving badly. It’s just that I think I’ve reached peak “Lost Generation being self-indulgent and drunk in Europe”, for lack of a better phrase. That is, Villa America goes over much the territory covered by:

Who would like this book? I that at one time or another all of us literary buffs have been at least a little bit intrigued by the writers and painters cavorting in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Villa America certainly scratches that itch. And Klaussmann adds to the story by including a made up story line involving forbidden love. The book captures one of the dreams I hold close to my heart – having a villa on the Riviera where friends come to relax, drink and bask in the sun – perfectly. She also shows how the best laid plans can go awry. But in the end, Tigers in Red Weather captures much of the same mood, and gives a more compelling story.


  1. Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, even in books. It still sounds good, though, especially since I haven’t already read all the others you mentioned. I own Tigers in Red Weather, though, so I think I’ll read that one first.

  2. I was really excited about this one too for the same reasons you mentioned…and I loved The Paris Wife and Z. But, as it got closer to pub date, my excitement kind of dissipated. Like you, I think I’ve read a lot of those types of books and there isn’t much story left in them for me.

  3. I’m in the middle of this right now. As you know, this has never been my favourite era and I think I still feel that way. It’s well written but I’m not connecting to it really. I really like Sara, I think. Mostly I feel sad for them all.

    Your cover is SO DIFFERENT from the one I’m reading!

  4. I did not in any way enjoy Mrs. Hemingway, Z, Studio Saint Ex, etc, etc etc. But I’m truly enjoying Villa America. Well, I have only a 1/4 left of it but I really like the way Klaussmann handled the subject matter, and far more over than those other authors did. But like you, I am weary of and tend not to reach for at all anything to do with the Fitzgeralds (I think Klaussman, in her portrayal of the Fitzgeralds feels the same) and certainly nothing to do with Hemingway (again I really think she feels the same as I do). God Hemingway is such an ass. 🙂

  5. I really enjoyed this book, although I had trouble keeping track of some of the side characters. I thought Gerald and Sara had a beautiful relationship. I also liked fantasizing I was living on the French Riviera and going to the beach everyday.

  6. Pingback: Calling on all readers! | 52 books or bust

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