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.
They Murphys were good friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald andErnest 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 a logical way to structure any biography, I think this story would have benefitted from being structured thematically. The book contains some fascintating 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.
The Murphys' personal story has more than its 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 sticks in my memory.