Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
First Published 1964 (3 years after Hemingway's death)
Source: I paid for this one

Publisher's Summary:
Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.

My Thoughts:
Who'da thunk it - the only Hemingway book I've ever read and actually enjoyed would be a memoir? If you're a Hemingway fan or even a person who feels like you "should" read Hemingway, I'd definitely recommend A Moveable Feast. As a look into life in Paris in the 1920's. As a window into the lives of several literary greats. And as a honest look into a few years of one young author's life.

I put this book on my nightstand and read a chapter at a time, each an individual story about an event, person, or part of Hemingway's life in Paris. Reading it this way is probably one of the reasons I appreciated this book as much as I did; I'm not sure I would have had I tried to just read straight through. Then I might not have appreciated gems like this:
"The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. For luck you carried a horse chestnut and a rabbit's foot in your right pocket. The fur had been worn off the rabbit's foot long ago and the ones and the sinews were polished by wear. The claws scratched in the lining of your pocket and you knew your luck was still there."

The title, as the publisher's summary says, refers to a literary feast but I could easily have read it as part of Fall Feasting. Hemingway writes extensively about eating and drinking in the bistros and restaurants of Paris and other European cities he visited. I kept having the urge to go sit at a little table in a quiet cafe and while away the afternoon drinking wine and writing. While Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, were poor and he talks about going hungry and cold because of it, it's plainly clear that he knew it was the price to pay for living the life he wanted and never seemed to feel sorry for himself. It pained him more to be without books until he discovered the "library" in the legendary Paris bookstore "Shakespeare's." Hemingway was not just a writer, he was a voracious reader and I finally found at least one thing I could really like about him. That and his willingness to admit his flaws, including the infidelity that cost him his marriage to a woman who clearly adored.

I'm so glad I finally got brave enough to pick this book up!

No comments:

Post a Comment