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A Moveable Feast Hardcover – Special Edition, Oct 1 1996
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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 admit 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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"The Paris sketches are absolutely controlled, far enough removed in time so that the scenes and characters are observed in tranquillity, and yet with astonishing immediacy - his remarkable gift - so that many have the hard brilliance of his best fiction" New York Herald Tribune "The first thing to say about the 'restored' edition so ably and attractively produced by Patrick and Sean Hemingway is that it does live up to its billing ... well worth having" Christopher Hitchens, "The Atlantic" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Even though it was published posthumously, this book does not reek of other hands having been all over it as have some other posthumous Hemingway publications. It has been questioned as to how much of this book is fact and how much fiction. Even Hemingway raised the issue at the beginning of the book. It doesn't really matter. In this book Hemingway is recollecting events that occurred over roughly a five year period which were over thirty years past when he started on the book. So, no doubt of it may well be fiction, given the passage of time.
But the book is monumental in that it is perhaps the quietest and most elegant of Hemingway's books. It is broken into chapters that recount various episodes in his life during that period he dwelled largely in Paris. It is sometimes funny, occasionally sad, but always intriguing. As I write this, I'm slowly convincing myself that it is my favorite work by him.
We are introduced to Hemingway's circle of friends and acquaintances from that period: Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, and the always interesting F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It's amazing how many other literary figures Hemingway came in contact with during his life and he gives interesting tales of all of them.
Even if you normally dislike Hemingway, I truly believe you will love reading this memoir. A true literary triumph and recounting of a time like none we will ever see again.
There are many honest and unflattering sketches of other ex-pats Hemingway either knew or befriended whilst there, including Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others, and a shining description of the goodness Hemingway attributed to Ezra Pound.
This seems like the best time in Hemingway's life, when he and his truest love were poor and happy and in love, and they shared their little lives with their young son. But it ends with foreboding and tragedy, when Hemingway regretfully and painfully describes the lead up to his love affair with what was to become his second wife, and looking back, wishes the thing that he and Hadley had in Paris could have lasted forever. It could have, Hem.
For this reader, knowing already what was to come, even the joys of Paris Hemingway describes are flavoured with melancholy. While I can appreciate this work, it would be a stretch to say I really enjoyed it to any great extent. However, anyone with an ounce of imagination can learn a good deal about Paris in the years between the wars, and anyone with an ounce of humility can glean a good deal from Hemingway's character strengths and weaknesses.
It strikes me, though I am not a writer, that this book should be read by anyone who aims to write. He describes the "writing process" and talks about what worked for him and what didn't. More importantly, he talked about being hungry as a new writer ... words of encouragement no doubt when those to follow his footsteps and wonder if hunger is the precursor to failure.
This is a compilation of encounters between Hemmingway and various well known figures in Paris during the 1920's and his reflections of his own life and those of others. Although the author states that it may be considered a work of fiction, it has the feel of an autobiography, sort of.
No, it is not a good story. As a story goes, it is quite dull. The plot is non-existent and a seemingly enless train of mostly unrelated mundane anecdotes populate the slim novel. A day at the races, the fishermen on the Sein, a full description of every meal eaten in a scene (as well as the extensive list of alcohol imbibed) do not make for riveting fiction. It is brilliant.
Here is a work that is almost all style and no substance. This is art at its most sublime level. What Hemmingway did put in this novel was Truth. Truth with a capital T because I am not referring to the synonym of factual but instead the conveyence of reality. The rythym of the words set the pace of the city. The descriptions of things and places are brought to life with hypnotic clarity and with such consumate skill with words that it is difficult to put the novel down; not because you simply must know what will happen to the hero next, but because it seems a jolt to your own reality to be suddenly extricated from Paris. And yet, the simplistic sparse Hemmingway prose which brings these images to life, seem now as transparent as air. No flowery phrases, no poetry, just Truth.
For anyone who is curious what Hemmingway thought about Ezra Pound or Gertrude Stein, for anyone who is curious what F. Scott Fitzgerald was like, and wonder about Hemmingway's opinion of him as a person and a writer, this should be the next book on your list.
This is truly a work of literature.
Most recent customer reviews
Very interesting book about the life in Paris at that time. I have read a few Hemingway books but this one is very different - I really enjoyed this book and will not be parting... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Johanne Lacroix
I love that book. It is one of my favorites. Now i have it as e-book.Published 27 days ago by Rima Segal
Good read and was in good shape when arrived. Arrived quickly too.Published 9 months ago by Jessica
I'm so glad I brought this book because I not only experienced the amazing writing of Ernest Hemingway but also gained insight into his extra/ordinary life in Paris. Read morePublished 21 months ago by cy.
I wanted to read A Moveable Feast as soon as I found out that its subject was similar to The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain, a novel I loved. Read morePublished 22 months ago by bedi
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