Zelda's Cut

Part of Modern Novels



This work presents a delicious combination of confused identities, personal dramas and moral dilemmas in a contemporary chiller from one of our most outstanding novelists.

For years, Isobel Latimer has composed serious novels for serious people, but to dwindling acclaim and ever-more dwindling gain. Now her husband is ill and she must carry their financial burden alone, and in secret. But if the public don’t want careful moral fables any longer, why not provide an outrageous tale of sex and satanism, and an author to match.

The incomparable, uncontrollable Zelda Vere is born. What began with the best of intentions snowballs into a disorienting blur of passion, gender-bending, loss of innocence, to betrayal and beyond. Isobel Latimer might feel she’s on the brink of losing everything, but what would Zelda do?

Behind the book

Released in 2000

This is an odd novel of mine. It's partly a satire on the business of publishing which I was starting to understand by this time in my career, partly an ironic commentary on the mistakes a woman makes when she takes responsibility for everything, but it is mostly a wry musing on the nature of being a woman – whether in our world femininity is so constructed that a man could do it as well as a woman, and perhaps – more optimistically – that a real woman will find love if she dares. It was a novel which I wrote with great imaginative leaps and little planning – I remember my own shock when the shoes were stolen! It was not a scene I had planned at all, I didn't understand it then, I don't understand it now, but it has tremendous resonance for me – and of course, it gave me the last bizarre line.



Helen Dunmore, The Times

"Zelda's Cut holds the attention because the cravings it describes are real"

Daily Mail

"Gregory's extraordinary engrossing novel examines the human capacity for self deceit, and explores the risks we should take to be our true selves. Audacious in its range… Gregory's skill is masterly… a triumph."


"A witty and entertaining romp that sizzles with intellectual energy and frankness."

Full Review

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