Fans of two of Montgomery’s most famous residents will no doubt want to get a copy of the new book, All of the Belles: The Montgomery Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Published by New South Books, Belles tells of the Roaring Twenties, during which time Fitzgerald wrote three stories about the belles of Tarleton, Georgia. Though set in Georgia, readers at that time recognized quickly that the book most likely was a thinly-veiled version of his wife Zelda Sayre’s hometown of Montgomery. In different ways, the heroines of the tales--Sally Carol Harper in “The Ice Palace,” Nancy Lamar in “The Jelly-Bean,” and Ailie Calhoun in “The Last of the Belles” rebel against Southern expectations of women, revel in the new found freedoms young people enjoyed at the outset of the modern age, and ultimately discover that home is far harder to run away from than they ever expected.
Surprisingly, although these minor masterpieces have long been regarded as among the very best of the 160 plus short stories Fitzgerald published during his short life, the stories have never been published as a trio until now. Compiled together now to commemorate the centennial of Scott and Zelda’s 1920 marriage and the beginning of the Jazz Age they symbolize, All of the Belles captures all the winsome qualities readers love about Fitzgerald’s writing: the keen observation of manners, the comic insights, the lyricism, and the poignant, powerful sense of loss.
Award-winning author Cassandra King says “All of the Belles is an extraordinary gift, not only to devotees of Zelda and F. Scott, but to readers, historians, and book-lovers everywhere. Dr. Kirk Curnutt’s introduction alone is worth the price, providing a look at the enduring mystique of the Fitzgeralds, but also a reminder of Zelda’s profound influence on Scott’s work. The underlying theme of the stories is uniquely Fitzgerald.”
All of the Belles is available at New South Books and The Goat Hill Gift Shop for $23.95