Friday, October 7, 2011

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast
Summary (from Goodreads) -
View the full version of this book online


In the preface to A Moveable Feast, Hemingway remarks casually that "if the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction"--and, indeed, fact or fiction, it doesn't matter, for his slim memoir of Paris in the 1920s is as enchanting as anything made up and has become the stuff of legend. Paris in the '20s! Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, lived happily on $5 a day and still had money for drinks at the Closerie des Lilas, skiing in the Alps, and fishing trips to Spain. On every corner and at every café table, there were the most extraordinary people living wonderful lives and telling fantastic stories. Gertrude Stein invited Hemingway to come every afternoon and sip "fragrant, colorless alcohols" and chat admid her great pictures. He taught Ezra Pound how to box, gossiped with James Joyce, caroused with the fatally insecure Scott Fitzgerald (the acid portraits of him and his wife, Zelda, are notorious). Meanwhile, Hemingway invented a new way of writing based on this simple premise: "All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know." Hemingway beautifully captures the fragile magic of a special time and place, and he manages to be nostalgic without hitting any false notes of sentimentality. "This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy," he concludes. Originally published in 1964, three years after his suicide, A Moveable Feast was the first of his posthumous books and remains the best. --David Laskin

Review: This book was great. I really enjoyed Hemingway's simple prose. He wasn't trying to be flashy or arrogant with his writing and I really appreciated that. This book uses several short stories to tie together the narrative. I found it refreshing to have a book told through short stories.

I also enjoyed how Hemingway talked about Paris. You can tell that he thoroughly enjoyed the time he spent there. The city became a very important part of the book. Another important element were the people Hemingway met in Paris. From James Joyce to Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein to F. Scott Fitzgerald, you can see how the amazing people Hemingway met in Paris had a profound impact on his life and career.

Bottom Line: This was my first Hemingway, and I certainly wouldn't suggest reading this Hemingway first to anyone else. He discusses some of the novels and short stories he wrote in this book, and I think I would have appreciated those discussions more if I knew what the novels and stories were about. Definitely a great read otherwise.

That's it for now. I will let you guys know what classics I'm reading for this month once I figure it out myself (I know, it's terrible that I haven't made a decision yet). I won't let this happen again, I swear. In fact from now on I think I'll let you guys know in advance what two classics I'm reading each month. That way you can participate if you want.

Happy Reading!

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