Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gilded Tragedy

Sarah & Gerald by Christopher Geoffrey McPherson

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review.

Summary: In the years after the great war, life was golden and happy for those who had survived it. An entire generation of young men died so others could sit on a beach and splash in the water and have sandwiches on the sand. It was a golden time for American expatriates -- like Sarah and Gerald -- to be in Paris. Everything had worked out so well for them: they had money, they had friends, they had three golden children and they had each other. And everyone was so young. Gerald was a painter and his bold new painting would shock the French art world; but the consequences of his artistic success would soon bring tragedy to Sarah and their family. Despite doing everything right, things would soon start going very wrong.

Review: A tale that shows the heyday of Paris, wealth, the famous, and what money cannot buy.

Sarah and Gerald was a short, but interesting tale, packed with money, dream houses, vacations, famous people, alcoholism, death, suicide, divorce, infidelity, and homosexuality. This book really shows that even though money (up to a certain amount) can cause happiness (it’s certainly easier to be happier when you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck and have additional spending money), it still can’t protect people from the tragedies of life. Though the extremely wealthy may not always be the easiest to relate to, you can really feel for the anguish of Sarah and Gerald.

I will admit that Paris doesn’t have much appeal to me as a place to live, visit certainly, but not live. Still, the 1920s in Paris would have been a great time to visit or live there. Though the novel focuses on Sarah and Gerald, you still meet plenty of famous people including Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. They play small roles in the story and are sometimes shown at their worst. Sarah and Gerald are amazingly understanding and supportive spouses considering what happens to the each of them. It may be hard, but I know that life will go on for them.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Paris in the 1920s or an accurate portrayal of a wealthy family.

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