Read Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill Online

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Gifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young--one of the best reviewed books of 1998--Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the MurphysGifted artist Gerald Murphy and his elegant wife, Sara, were icons of the most enchanting period of our time; handsome, talented, and wealthy expatriate Americans, they were at the very center of the literary scene in Paris in the 1920s. In Everybody Was So Young--one of the best reviewed books of 1998--Amanda Vaill brilliantly portrays both the times in which the Murphys lived and the fascinating friends who flocked around them. Whether summering with Picasso on the French Riviera or watching bullfights with Hemingway in Pamplona, Gerald and Sara inspired kindred creative spirits like Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, and F. Scott Fitzgerald (Nicole and Dick Diver in Tender is the Night were modeled after the Murphys). Their story is both glittering and tragic, and in this sweeping and richly anecdotal portrait of a marriage and an era, Amanda Vaill "has brought them to life as never before" (Chicago Tribune)....

Title : Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story
Author :
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ISBN : 9780767903707
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 470 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story Reviews

  • Kim
    2018-11-02 21:27

    In 1921 wealthy young Americans Gerald and Sara Murphy moved first to England and then to Paris with their three young children, in order to escape the stifling restrictions imposed upon them by their families and the social milieu in which they lived. They were interested in the arts and soon found themselves actively involved in the artistic life in Paris, working on sets for the Ballets Russes, mixing with Picasso, Cocteau and Léger and later with the writers of the “Lost Generation” including F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos. Cole Porter, Dorothy Parker and Archibald MacLeish were also among their friends. The Murphys are credited with starting the fashion of spending summer on the French Riviera, where they lived for a number of years in their home “Villa America” in Cap d’Antibes. They were generous with their money and their time, enormously supportive of their friends and enthusiastic and creative parents to their children. Although Picasso painted Sara Murphy on a number of occasions and while Gerald Murphy’s paintings, all of which were completed in the 1920s, were later recognized as a significant contribution to American art, the Murphys may have passed otherwise unknown into history if not for their association with F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in particular. They are partly the inspiration for Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender Is the Night (although the Divers are also fairly clearly based on the Fitzgeralds) and characters based on the Murphys also appear in Hemingway’s work. In spite of the generosity and support the Murphys extended to these writers in particular, neither of them was particularly generous in return. Hemingway was particularly mean-spirited in his references to them in A Moveable Feast, although that's not surprising because he was cruel about everyone in that memoir except himself. I loved reading this wonderfully engaging and detailed biography. When I finished it last night I found myself reluctant to say goodbye to the Murphys and their world. This is partly because of Vaill’s skill as a chronicler of the lives of two such interesting and passionate people. But it’s also because of the Murphys themselves. Rarely have I read a biography of someone I wish I’d known as much as I wish I’d known the Murphys. They knew what friendship meant and they knew what commitment to a relationship meant. They faced immense personal tragedy and were strengthened by the experience. All in all, they were extraordinary people and it was a privilege to get to know them. This is a must-read for anyone with an interest in 1920s Paris and the Lost Generation.

  • Lizzie
    2018-10-20 00:22

    I resented having to place this book down and exit the world that Sara and Gerald Murphy invented for themselves. It was all too easy to slip into the grace and charm of Villa America, or to envision the full-tilt excitement of painting backdrops for Parade and hosting the Ballets Russes set for a drunken soiree in honor of Les Noces ending with Stravinsky jumping through a laurel wreath. (Seeing the 'Misia, Queen of Paris' exhibit at the Musee de Orsay and the Paul Guilliame collection at the Orangerie provided gorgeous visuals for these passages!) Even the china, the end tables, and Sara's filmy dresses and pearls provided the sense of a life painstakingly crafted, constantly reimagined, and ultimately fragile.Of course, the back to back tragedies of the 1930s tarnish the golden prince-and-princess nature of their story. Despite flashes of warmth (Dorothy Parker camping out at the sanatorium with them, Leger coming to sketch with Patrick, Hemingway arranging a wild west foray for the kids) it was striking how selfish, small, and mean many of their 'great man and woman' friends were. Despite the art, the dinners, the conversation, the modernity and the daring, these were just people making (lousy) choices and trying but all too often failing to lead lives congruent with their senses of self. Try Scott Fitzgerald: "When I like men I want to be like them. I want to lose the outer qualities that give me my individuality and be like them. I don't want the man; I want to absorb into myself all the qualities that make him attractive and leave him out." But also: "...you'll let me have my little corner of you where I know you better than anybody- yes, even better than Gerald. And if it should perhaps be your left ear (you hate anyone to examine any single part of your person, no matter how appreciatively- that's why you wore bright clothes) on June evenings on Thursday from 11:00 to 11:15 here's what I'd say: That not one thing you've done has been for nothing.... The people whose lives you've touched directly or indirectly have reacted to the corporate bundle of atoms that's you in a good way. I have seen you again & again at a time of confusion take the hard course almost blindly because long after your powers of ratiocination were exhausted you clung to the idea of dauntless courage." How to reconcile the cruelty, selfishness, and love?The open question of Gerald's sexuality was particularly compelling. There was his unnamed anguish over the falseness of his public persona and his insistence that his love for Sara was true and necessary but also lacking a certain vitality/honesty: "terribly, terribly sorry that I am as I am... only one thing would be awful and that is that you might not know that I love only you. We both know it's inadequate (that's where 'life' comes in);- but such as it is it certainly is the best this poor fish can offer,- and it's the realest thing I know." The narrative presents an unsettling and unanswered question- does sexual incompatability or infidelities of the mind and heart (if not the body) make romantic love any less 'real' or 'true'? Or is the ultimate proof commitment- the daily choice to remain with one's partner and invest in them? Is such a choice sad, pitible, noble, tragic, beautiful, all of the above? Disturbing and bittersweet...

  • Diane Meier
    2018-10-29 23:15

    Looking at the reviews here, you wouldn't get it - but in fact, The Murphys weren't particularly rich. They chose Paris - and then the South of France - because they were places of beauty and civility where a dollar might be stretched to its limit. And did they know how to stretch it! On very little beyond loving support and sometimes elbow grease, they helped to midwife, groom and finance much of what became "Modern" in the first half of the 20th Century.In an earlier book about her parents, Honora Murphy writes that Sara feared being taken for a name-dropper, when the list - Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Leger, Picasso, Parker, Benchley, Barry, MacLeish, DosPassos - and more, many more - were all added up in their column. But - she said - they weren't famous -then... And that's the point.Sara and Gerald were looking for a gracious, bohemian lifestyle; the holy grail to those of us who might have been their grandchildren. They wanted to know what it was they "wanted to do, before they were too old to do it," as their close friend, playwright, Philip Barry, puts Gerald Murphy's words into the mouth of his lead character, Johnny Case in 'Holiday'. Barry drew from their inspiration over and over. So did Scott Fitzgerald, although that's a little more complicated. Picasso simply drew them, especially Sara. And if the Murphys were always on vacation, everyone wanted to vacation with them. --Everyone who would become anyone special.So - everyone loved them. When tragedy struck their children, everyone's hearts broke -- and Amanda Vaill makes us understand exactly why. A brilliant, warm, emotionally connected book I am delighted to recommend.

  • Sera
    2018-11-11 04:21

    I have had incredible fortune with all of the excellent books that I have been reading this year. This book about the Murphy's is no exception. Hands down, Gerald and Sarah Murphy were two of the most generous people around during the early to mid-1900s, and unfortunately, all of that good karma that they should have generated didn't save them from all of the tragedy that they had to face in their lives. What's great about this book is that there is so much detail around the Murphy's friendships with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and other literati and artistic types that through the story of the Murphy's, the reader is given great insight into the lives of these other people. The tragedy that befell the Murphy's, befell many of these other people, as well, albeit in a different manner. It's one of those things that one finds hard to believe even though it's true.Overall, I highly recommend this book, and a shout out to Aylin for recommending it to me.

  • Sean O'Brien
    2018-11-07 03:40

    I actually started reading this book before the new film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” came out. I think that a person can mature in one’s understanding of the “Roaring 20s” and 30s by reading this book. The reader who cracks this book purely to indulge a guilty pleasure and immerse oneself in a sparkling period of great parties, beauty and artistic advancements is bound to find a very different experience. If nothing else, it left me with the understanding that every time period has its triumphs and its great challenges. The intermission between two world wars was no different given the scourge of tuberculosis, the drum beat of the next great world war and the Great Depression. Vaill lends more textured elements to what it would be like to be in the company of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, etc. For someone like me who had an unrealistic reverence for the human beings behind their most celebrated works, my initial impression was to recoil at all of their less likable traits, particularly when it comes to how Fitzgerald is characterized. In the end, surprisingly, it was the enduring pact uniting Sara and Gerald Murphy that I found so moving. Their love for each other was complicated and true. What makes it compelling is that both of them are such touching examples of generosity, kindness, and living life to the fullest. These traits seem to stand out far more than the greatness and celebrity of the artists in their company. This account is full of so much drama and sadness. For me, there were times when Vaill overly committed to the details much like a diary that could use some more editing, but the touches of humanity that Gerald and Sara embodied were the saving grace of this book in my opinion. Just as our times have their own immense challenges, it is a reminder to me of how much our world needs artistic pursuit, a credo of living fully and that spirit of humanism.

  • Carmen Gwazdacz
    2018-11-12 05:23

    At the epicenter of the European modernist movement were Sara and Gerald Murphy. This “golden” couple” were a wealthy expatriate family that moved the French Riviera following World War I in the early twentieth century. Sara was an heiress and Gerald’s family owned the Mark Cross Company. Originally neither of their parents approved of their marriage. Sara’s family felt she was marrying below her station and Gerald’s family felt Sara was unsuitable. Looking to get away from their controlling parents and what seemed to be an American culture based on “trade and Puritan ethics” they fled to Europe and took up residence in Paris and the French Rivera. Way ahead of the times, Sarah was beautiful, original, and intelligent. Gerald was complex, witty, Yale educated, and a natural esthetic. Together, they had a marriage based on creativity, friendship, and passion. Their beauty, wealth, and charismatic charm drew people to them like flies to honey. They were the perfect family with three perfect children. In France it seems they found what they were looking for and quickly became immersed in the booming bohemian art culture going on at the time. Counted among their close circle of friends were Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Hemmingway, Ada and Archie McLeish, John and Katy Dos Passos, Fernand Leger, Dorthy Parker, Coco Channel, Diaghilev, Cole Porter, and many others. Although not always given credit for being part of the “Lost Generation” of artists coming out of this time frame, it is clear when reading that there would have been no “Lost Generation” if it had not been for the Murphy’s. They often funded and supported their friends financially and emotionally while working on books and art that are iconic today. In fact, a fascinating aspect of this book is that the Murphy’s knew many of these people before they were the icons of today and that they had the uncanny ability to predict how important the artistry of their friends would be in the future. The Murphy’s are given credit for starting the summer season on the Riviera, are immortalized in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “Tender is the Night” and in Hemmingway’s “Movable Feast”. The Murphy’s were the subjects of many paintings by Fernand Leger and Picasso and their personal clothing style gave inspiration to Coco Channels first line of sports ware. The Murphy’s life was not without its tragedies. They lost two children and ultimately ended up back in the United States. The book overall, is somewhat dry as would be expected from an autobiographical account, but the fascination of the subjects easily overrides the dry factor. Amanda Vail succeeds in telling the Murphy’s story in a fair and compassionate manner. For anyone interested in the modernist period, the “twenties”, or anyone from the “Lost Generation” this is a must read.

  • Peggy
    2018-11-15 05:14

    How wonderful to have spent the past several days with Gerald and Sara Murphy. Generous souls, the two were gifted for friendship and for family. They gave their three children an enchanted upbringing at Villa America, their home in Antibes, where they entertained Scott and Zelda, Picasso and Olga, Hemingway and Hadley and later, Pauline (whom they preferred). In the midst of cocktails, style, and genius, they somehow made a very child-friendly experience, with fairy tale garden settings for parties, daily swims, boat trips around the Mediterranean, and an assortment of kindly, caring adults, such as Archibald MacLeish and Dorothy Parker. Even the difficult Hemingway became a better person in the presence of Gerald and Sara, writing them frequent letters, visiting them, rushing to their side when needed. The two so fascinated their writer friends that they were depicted in Tender is the Night, A Moveable Feast, and J.B. But their characterizations were difficult to bear, especially the way that Hemingway did it, in the midst of his last depression, and full of bitterness about the mistakes he made in life. There is much to admire in their characters and much to learn about living well from them. Especially interesting is Vaill's discussion about Gerald's latent homosexuality, something he admitted was a barrier between he and Sara later in their marriage. Refusing to inhabit a binary construct of sexuality, he was comfortable in friendship with both men and women, but Sara and he were one unit.As history deteriorated into the Second World War, the golden age on the French Riviera ended. Life in America was more dismal, due to unexpected tragic events in the family and Gerald's new role as a businessman. But Gerald and Sara remain full of grace and elegance. There is nothing small or cruel or mean about these two. I learned of no scandal, no shame, nothing about them that would tarnish what I learned about them from other sources: that these are good and admirable people. They were a blessing to their friends. During the time it took to read this biography, I, too, was caught up in their golden circle, and it was lovely.

  • Susan Weinberg
    2018-11-11 04:38

    I had read this book many years ago and recently reread it, something I do rarely, but it was well worth it in this case. An extremely well researched and well written biography of a couple, Sara and Gerald Murphy, who were central to many of the artists and writers who emerged in the early part of the 1900s. With a home in Antibes, they hosted many luminaries such as Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Leger and Picasso.They were at the core of this world adding ballast, encouragement and often funding as their friends struggled through challenges to achieve prominence. Their own life appeared golden at the outset, but ultimately faced devastating tragedies. Gerald Murphy was himself a promising artist who abruptly ceased his artistic path. The undercurrent in the book is his unexpressed homosexuality and the struggles it presents for him emotionally in the life he chose. Since my original reading of it, I recall seeing one of his paintings at the Whitney, many of which are reflective of this "secret" that he harbored. I also read The Paris Wife and A Movable Feast which added considerably to my understanding of Hemingway's life, a central figure in this book. Fascinating material and extremely well executed.

  • Denis
    2018-10-17 23:15

    Elegiac biography of the couple that embodies the twenties and the Fitzgerald era. It's all, of course, incredibly sad. But filled with beauty, intelligence, wit, art, and triumphs. Ah, to have known those people... The talent of Vaill is that she gives us the sensation that we actually meet them and know them - it's as if we were invited to one of the fabulous parties these people organized and shared. She brings the Murphys back to life with poignancy and much tenderness, and with them, it's a whole era that shines again, like a lost movie suddenly brought back to the screen. Vaill doesn't hide from the truth, and she tells of the tragedies that life inflicted on this magical couple and the people that surrounded them: at the end, one feels more powerfully than ever that happiness really is the most elusive of things, and that it never lasts. Truly heartbreaking.

  • Lexy Martin
    2018-11-05 21:26

    I've given this book about 120 pages and am abandoning -- just not a book for my cup of tea. I admire the author's dedication to telling this story and love the intersections of the Murphy's lives with the great authors, artists, poets of their time. I finally ended up looking up the couple on Wikipedia just to see how their lives went and that is enough for me. The detail just finally detracted from the story. I did learn a new phrase though that I must use with my research: "noncausal synchronicity."

  • Lisa
    2018-11-04 05:39

    Ok, I love love love this time period. The 1920's in France. But this book is so detailed that you have to be a super fan to get through it. I did read the whole thing but it was tough to get all the way through. Interesting relationship between Sara and Gerald and certainly was fun to live vicariously through them. The pirate treasure hunt sounded amazing. But again, who want to know who attended every party and what they wore.

  • Nigeyb
    2018-11-10 23:39

    Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill is a detailed account of the life of artist Gerald Murphy and his wife Sara. They are probably now best known as the basis for Dick and Nicole Diver in Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Murphys were good friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway and their families, in addition to many other modernist movers and shakers, many of whom they met in Paris in the early 1920s.The edition I read was around 360 pages long. It took around 100 pages for couple to meet, marry and then get to Paris. Not much of interest happens before they move to Europe and my main criticism is Amanda Vaill appears to be so in thrall to the Murphys, and has done so much research, that she chose to give the reader a lot of chronological detail. Whilst usually a logical way to structure any biography, I think this story would have benefitted from being structured thematically. The book contains some fascinating stories and insights into the world of the Murphys, the Fitzgeralds, the Hemingways, Picasso and his family, Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, and so on, however for each nugget there's a lot of less interesting detail to work through.Despite all of the interesting insights into many of the modernist movers and shakers who the Murphys counted amongst their friends and acquaintances, it is the Murphys' personal story that I thought was most affecting. The couple experienced more than their fair share of tragedy, and the shadows that darken the story of this handsome, talented, and wealthy American couple, who were at the centre of the artistic scene in Paris and Antibes in the 1920s, is what most sticks in my memory.An interesting, overlong and ultimately moving story.

  • Sallee
    2018-11-12 05:27

    This is the third book I've read recently that pertains the Gerald and Sara Murphy, part of the "Lost Generation". I find that while I enjoyed reading about their lifestyle, their family and friends it was with a sense of sadness. They moved many times in their lives together but never seemed to be able to stay at any one place for very long. Gerald was a very good painter and the ones that were pictured in the books I've read have a "pull" on your senses. It seemed he was constantly looking for something to fill his life with and thus ended up being well educated in many things. His wife was loved by many and also well educated. Their friends who were artists, writers, musicians, playwrights swirled around them in what was sometimes a whirlwind dance and sometimes a maudlin one. This was a portrayal of a type of life that no longer exists.

  • Maureen M
    2018-11-02 21:26

    It's one of the best biographies I've read, rich in context while clearly focused on the central characters. It brings to life this extraordinary couple and the extraordinary time they lived in -- the Gilded Age, WWI, the Twenties, the Depression, WWII and beyond. It fills in the gaps left in other works such as "A Movable Feast" and adds dimensions to the Murphys' famous friends. The author portrays the Murphys in their own words, using the ample collections of letters they left behind. It makes me wonder if such a work would be possible for subjects today, with most correspondence done digitally by phones or emails.

  • DeB MaRtEnS
    2018-11-09 00:20

    The summary of the recently published bestselling novel VILLA AMERICA found me puzzling about whether I had read it, because I seemed to know a great deal about Gerald and Sara Murphy who are the subjects of this novel. But the book which I read was years ago, so it certainly was not Villa America, and I recalled enjoying it immensely. A little Googling (Love this resource!) led me to this biography I had read, as well as a wonderful review. Everybody Was So Young has been republished recently, 2013. It is terrific and I think I'll reread it rather than the fiction version even though it has high reviews.https://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/2...

  • Paula
    2018-10-29 22:39

    The story of Gerald and Sarah Murphy is one of the most fascinating aspects of the 20's in France. They should have been in "Midnight in Paris". They were young and in love and drew the most interesting people into their orbit. They seemed to have mastered the art of living beautifully. They were totally devoted despite the fact that Gerald was gay.Hemingway and Picasso were in love with Sara. Did she reciprocate? They lost two of their three children to illness. What a compelling story.

  • Ellyn
    2018-11-07 22:19

    I'm pretty much obsessed with the Lost Generation, so I don't know how it took me 45 years to read about Gerald and Sara. They were incredible, the art and music and literature in their orbit is dazzling, and this is one of the best biographies I've read in years. If you are at all interested in the Lost Generation, in Paris in the 1920s, in Hemingway, Fitzgerald or Dorothy Parker, you MUST read this book. And then prepare to be amazed by how they are dwarfed and humbled by the inspirational greatness of the Murphys themselves.

  • Tori
    2018-10-25 22:18

    Biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy and their fellow Lost Generationers. So full of detail that at times it was tedious but such a kind representation of the Murphys. Their story is quite charming and sad. I'm inspired to re-read Hemingway and Fitzgerald now that I have a background on them as people. And by the way, I rarely mention when I read a Kindle copy vs hand held book but just for information purposes, only 61% is story and the last 39% is acknowledgments and source material. Maybe that info will help someone else who stalls out at 24% like I did.

  • Ann
    2018-10-21 05:33

    I loved this book! Amanda Vaill does a beautiful job of telling us about Gerald and Sara. Truly a fascinating couple. It's really a story of marriage, family and friendship. However, the settings and cast of characters is extraordinary. I read everything else I could find about them after this book. I fell in love with them and my heart broke for them, as well.

  • Stacykurko
    2018-10-27 01:32

    This book sparked a "Lost Generation" reading jag. Started with Fitzgerald, led to Dos Passos, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Wonderful story about an artistic couple with the wealth to explore their eccentricities. I thought it was slated to become a movie, but haven't seen any progress.

  • Martin
    2018-11-10 22:26

    Reading this book was like picking up an old habit. 20 years ago I spent a summer devouring Fitzgerald and 1920s-related Hemingway, which is how I first heard of the Murphys. Sara Wiborg was an American socialite whose mother had helped her make quite a splash in London society before the war, where she also saw Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”, fresh from its riotous debut in Paris. She was more engaged intellectually and artistically with the world around her and she found no pressing need to marry, which was fortuitous for Gerald Murphy, a Yale grad who had loved her from varying degrees of geographical proximity for many years. They were on the same page regarding so many things they wanted from life: interesting friends, modern music/ballet/painting, décor expressing their personalities i.e. “good things found among trash.” Their painter friends also tended to be modern but with a strong neo-classical foundation. People often thought of them as rich, but they moved to France because they could live there quite cheaply. They attempted to create a life based on charming things and support of talent. They loved to throw parties for their brilliant friends, but a few of these friends took ample advantage of their financial generosity (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Leger), not that the Murphys ever minded once they believed in a person’s desire to create. In Paris they became enraptured with the Ballet Russes and did everything they could to show their support, socially and financially. They were guided to the Cote d’Azur by Cole Porter and set about to raking the beach of a hundred years’ seaweed. Within a few years it was overrun with the rick and not very clever. During the time in between, the Murphys cavorted with Porter, John Dos Passos, Charles Brackett, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway and his first two wives, and Picasso, who fell in love with Sara Murphy and portrayed her rather erotically in four paintings, usually with her signature string of pearls. They became surrogate parents to the Fitzgeralds who were “attracted by the Murphys’ unconventional maturity: their paradoxical mixture of spontaneity and settledness, and their ability to balance their family life with the role as friends.” The Murphys belonged, just barely, to the pre-war generation. Fitzgerald was fascinated by Sara’s directness and would try to kiss her, which she did not encourage but did not scold him for either. He was fascinated by their seemingly stable partnership, as opposed to his volatile and crumbling one. In ‘Tender is the Night’ (which is colored by Scott’s attraction to Sara, though it exposes his greater, Platonic attraction to Gerald) Fitzgerald conflates the glamour of the Murphys with the dysfunction of his alcoholism and Zelda’s insanity. Fitzgerald eventually became jealous of the Murphys’ raves for Hemingway’s writing, and the always dapper Gerald became insecure about his clothing around Hemingway. Everyone became enamored by Hemingway’s overblown masculinity. He took their kindness for granted and assumed if he were in a tight spot they would give him money. He seems to have loved Sara and he would act strangely when he got a new wife. He had some kind of uneasiness with Gerald; he was afraid of his effete taste and manners. He derided Gerald’s grace under pressure and demonstrated clearly that he couldn’t summon such a thing himself when he committed suicide. (Conversely, “Courage disguised as taste” was the description of Sara’s party following Gerald’s funeral.) Almost from the grave, Hemingway wrote a poisoned pen letter in the form of his memoir of the 1920s, ‘A Moveable Feast’, which repudiates much of his relationship with the Murphys, whom he refers to as the “rich people”, and also seems to loathe himself for ever asking their opinion – he read them a late draft of ‘The Sun Also Rises’ which completely blew them away, more so than any novel Fitzgerald wrote. But not all of their friends projected darkness onto them, nor did all of their friends resent them. Philip Barry created a Murphyesque couple described by in his hit play ‘Holiday’ as “the brightest, happiest people I’ve ever known,” who act as inspiration for the other characters who wish to unshackle themselves from their pre-ordained lives. Elsewhere, Barry described Gerald’s mixing of cocktails as “a priest preparing Mass”, the precision and reverence which I like to believe I bring to my own mixing. (I THINK THE REAL SPOILERS ARE ABOUT TO START, SO BEWARE)A few years prior to “A Moveable Feast”, the Murphys’ good friend Archibald MacLeish won his third Pulitzer for ‘J.B.’, a play based on the Book of Job and on the Murphys’ string of misfortune from 1929 onward. The Murphys had been coaxed to Hollywood by King Vidor who had brought Gerald in to help supervise the musical selections on his first talkie, the black musical ‘Hallelujah!’ MGM producer Irving Thalberg ran constant interference and even brought Lionel Barrymore in to help coach the black actors how to speak more Negro dialect. It was a miserable experience for Gerald, and just prior to fleeing California their son Patrick contracted tuberculosis from the chauffeur. Thus began a series of hardships that a decade later found the Murphys returned to New York, their world completely deflated. Gerald stopped painting upon Patrick’s illness, their avant-garde crowd disbanded, and the paradise they discovered and constructed in Antibes was now lousy with millionaires. They moved back to America only to be subjected to horrible parties thrown by people like Tallulah Bankhead. Once they stopped getting invited to parties they were quite grateful. Gerald eventually returned to work at the Mark Cross company that his father had built, but where his searching and epicurean sensibilities served to rebuild the brand quite well. Then there was the issue of a certain lack of demonstrative affection in the marriage, which may have had to do with latent homosexual tendencies on Gerald’s part. There is no proof of his acting on these feelings during his marriage, although something may have happened at Yale. However, Sara and Gerald were always devoted to the life they had created for themselves together. Regardless of their personal circumstances, the Murphys always managed to give their friends money if they really were in need. At the end of his life, Scott Fitzgerald was asking for money, and they also helped Lillian Hellman, Pauline Hemingway, and always Fernand Leger most of all. They did have one really great, close friend who never seemed to touch them for money or put them into writing: Dorothy Parker. I found it quite moving how good of a friend Dorothy Parker was to the Murphys during their struggle with Patrick’s TB, or giving Scott Fitzgerald a tongue-lashing if he were insensitive to Sara, or even her bemusement with certain of Gerald’s affectations once he had become somewhat of a bore in the 1940s. Gerald wrote to a friend, “The only friends you make really are when you’re young […] and you keep them but don’t keep them.” Many of their friends died before their time, and just as their contemporaries were leaving them, the Murphys were rediscovered in a renewed interest in the ‘Lost Generation’ in the early 1960s. However, this often served to make them feel like they were ghosts in their own lives. When this book was published 15 years ago I was very excited, but for some reason it sat in the back of my Amazon shopping cart all this time. Now I’ve finally read it, and am glad that I did, although I’m sure I would have found it more glamorous back in 1999. However, I can, at the present, understand much better the difficulty involved in being a successful couple, and the amount of patience required to have dynamic people all around you (and connected to each other through you). Instead, I found the book to be about the inexorable march of time, and how people often live in the shadow of their own greatness. That is a bummer to take away from this book, so we should instead learn to live full and interesting lives inspired by the Murphys that have been preserved from the 1920s.

  • Marvin
    2018-11-03 05:22

    Oh, to be an artist or a muse?Everybody was so Young details...emphasis on the word "details"...the life of Gerald and Sara Murphy, American expatriates who counted as their friends Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, among others. They were a focus of the intellectual circles in the 1920s primarily in Paris and the French Riviera. This well researched look at the period has a lot going for it but I found myself wanting more about the actual artistic and intellectual geniuses of the time rather that the couple that often supported and inspired them. Nonetheless, a very interesting book that is much better than the three stars I personally allotted it.

  • Brierly
    2018-11-07 23:38

    Everybody Was So Young throws you into the glamorous world of the Murphys (Sara and Gerald) who crossed paths with many famous figures from the Modernist movement. The Murphys are more subtle figures compared to their famous friends Picasso, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald; yet studying more "normal" figures from this period provides a clearer picture of what this life actually felt like. Centered on the infamous Villa America, this nonfiction work immerses you in the language, art, and social structure of the 1910s-1940s. This is a well-written non-fiction text, especially for those who love the Jazz Age.

  • Luci
    2018-10-29 22:33

    This was a very well done biography of the famous Murphy family and their set. This book does an excellent job of fleshing out many of the timeless names of the Lost Generation. The charm of this book is that Vaill pulls no punches and doesn't sugar coat these people. The reader gets to see the warts of everybody along with the inspiration that created some of the most notable works of art in the 20th century. This is a fantastic companion piece to the works of Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

  • Gabriele Wills
    2018-11-14 02:13

    A fascinating look at an era and generation. I read this book over a year ago and find it still haunts me. We visited Cap d"Antibes last May, where Sara and Gerald established their Riviera home. What a thrill it was to walk along the Garoupe Beach - which they had discovered - trying to envision what it must once have been like before the Murphys helped to popularize the area. Now, of course, it's thick with tourists. But the imagination can take flight!

  • Ziggy Lorenc
    2018-10-30 02:19

    This is a fabulous love story of the first Boomers with zip, Sara & Gerald Murphy. They lived their lives with brilliant creativity from the turn of the century to become expatriates in Paris in the 1920's. Loved by artists and friends in the artistic milieu, their world was shattered by personal tragedy. The Murphy story is one where they bravely faced life, steered their boat towards a different port, with their marriage in tact to final contentment.

  • Diane Webber-thrush
    2018-11-04 21:30

    I really loved this dual biography of Gerald and Sara Murphy. I had read The Paris Wife, and if you want to immerse yourself in that world more, this is a wonderful, well-written, well-researched biography.

  • Susan Rainwater
    2018-10-25 01:34

    Absolutely delightful and informative history of the Murphys and their Lost Generation circle in France and what happened to them later in life. Definitely recommended, and read this first before "Hotel Florida," which has a related cast of characters.

  • Vincent
    2018-10-23 21:37

    A vacation into the early twentieth century.

  • Theresafic
    2018-10-30 03:38

    3.5 stars. Interesting , but perhaps too much details at times, and speculation. Of course if you can't interview people speculation is often lol you are left with.Not sure what it is about the roaring 20's which are so intriguing, I guess like the 1960s, a time people want to relive and look at examine a lot of change going on. I was really struck by how many of their family lived in Paris, almost all the sibliblings on both sides of the family. I was also struck by all the moving they did, almost constantly travelled from place to place, house to house.Several times they were described as not rich, but they seemed rich. Certainly neither worked for a living.I'm glad I read the book, felt immersed in the 1920's expat. Most of the rest could have been left off.