Love triangle burns amidst roar of 1920s Paris in new historical novel

In “Jagged Blind Hop Zozzle” (ISBN 1466359919), M. S. Simpson dives headlong into the artistic wonders of 1920s Paris.

The Great War had ended while American jazz and the hypnotic dancing of Josephine Baker had taken over night clubs. Into this air of sophisticated hedonism comes Cuthbert Westbrook-Madison, a 30-year-old Amherst professor on sabbatical. He heads to the City of Lights to write and soak up the life all around him.

Along with Baker, he meets the luminaries who converged there, such as James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Together, this avant-garde takes in the splendor of a city of which the legendary dancer Baker once said, “I do so love a night out in Paris. Caviar and champagne, and the jagged blind hop zozzle from time to time.”

Far more than a historical novel, “Jagged Blind Hop Zozzle” is an inquiry into love and the ways in which we seize it or miss it altogether. At the heart of the novel is Cuthbert’s love triangle with two hauntingly beautiful Parisian twins, Irène and Théophile. Their unorthodox love affair is fraught with danger from the beginning, something Cuthbert realizes as Théophile’s former flames begin to threaten him. Soon the candle of life for one will be snuffed out, and Cuthbert will find himself in the crosshairs of a police investigation over the death.

By the novel’s end, Cuthbert will find himself a changed man, forever altered by a betrayal he never saw coming. Gutsy, brave and real, the book pushes to a denouement that while not happy for all involved, it does reflect the raw reality of a young generation still very much touched by the brutal war through which they lived. Soaked in the intoxications of urban life and city romance, “Jagged Blind Hop Zozzle” is a story about the dream of Jazz Age Paris gone awry.

“Jagged Blind Hop Zozzle” is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author: M. S. Simpson was born in Southern California. He is the award-winning author of “Kabuki in a G-String” and “Shirtless in Iceland: A Novel.” He earned a doctorate in comparative literature and is a former fellow at the Library of Congress. He taught English for several years at prestigious independent prep schools. He divides his time between France and the United States.


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