If the traffic slows to an excruciating crawl through St. Paul’s Summit Hill this summer, you can blame this book. “F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota,” by Dave Page and Jeff Krueger, is a house-by-house guide to Summit Avenue and the surrounding streets through the context of Minnesota’s most famous writer and his friends.
You couldn’t use this as a walking guide — not unless you were very strong and had a lot of stamina. But you could use it on a driving tour for sure. The 9- by 12-inch book weighs 2 pounds and is illustrated throughout with Krueger’s full-page color photographs, as well as historic pictures.
Page — the editor of two previous Fitzgerald books — has done an amazing amount of research. His clear, straightforward text cites books, biographies, pamphlets, magazines, websites, letters, diaries, interviews, public records and newspapers large and tiny, local and national. There are more than 700 footnotes, and while there isn’t a bibliography per se (Page consulted sources “far too numerous to list in this book,” he says in the introduction), you get the sense that he has read everything there is to read about Fitzgerald. He picks only the most pertinent and interesting facts for this book and does not drown the reader in minutiae.
Fitzgerald attended a New Year’s tea at 653 Goodrich Av., a yellow house with a wraparound porch and a turret. His uncle lived at 1012 Lincoln Av., a big gray house with two bay windows. The big red stone house at 475 Summit Av. was the home of Marie Hamm, one of Fitzgerald’s early girlfriends.
It just goes on and on. Fitzgerald may have lived on Summit Avenue, but his footprints, if visible, would cover that whole swath of St. Paul.
In this book, Page shows us where.
Laurie Hertzel is the senior editor for books at the Star Tribune. On Twitter: @StribBooks
F. Scott Fitzgerald in Minnesota
By: Dave Page, photographs by Jeff Krueger.
Publisher: Fitzgerald in St. Paul, 276 pages, $39.95.
Events: 2 p.m. July 16, St. Paul Central Library, 90 W. 4th St., in conjunction with Fitzgerald photo exhibit; 7 p.m. July 19, Common Good Books, 28 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul; 7 p.m. July 27, Roseville Library, 2180 Hamline Av. N.