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A Moveable Feast [Special Edition] [Hardcover]

Ernest Hemingway
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1996 0684833638 978-0684833637 Classic Edition
"You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil."
Begun in the autumn of 1957 and published posthumously in 1964, Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast captures what it meant to be young and poor and writing in Paris during the 1920s. A correspondent for the Toronto Star, Hemingway arrived in Paris in 1921, three years after the trauma of the Great War and at the beginning of the transformation of Europe's cultural landscape: Braque and Picasso were experimenting with cubist forms; James Joyce, long living in self-imposed exile from his native Dublin, had just completed Ulysses; Gertude Stein held court at 27 rue de Fleurus, and deemed young Ernest a member of rue génération perdue; and T. S. Eliot was a bank clerk in London. It was during these years that the as-of-yet unpublished young writer gathered the material for his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, and the subsequent masterpieces that followed.
Among these small, reflective sketches are unforgettable encounters with the members of Hemingway's slightly rag-tag circle of artists and writers, some also fated to achieve fame and glory, others to fall into obscurity. Here, too, is an evocation of the Paris that Hemingway knew as a young man -- a map drawn in his distinct prose of the streets and cafés and bookshops that comprised the city in which he, as a young writer, sometimes struggling against the cold and hunger of near poverty, honed the skills of his craft.
A Moveable Feast is at once an elegy to the remarkable group of expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.

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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.


"Reading A Moveable Feast is a little like sitting down to a banquet with a host of bohemian luminaries" Observer "A short, perfect book. Exquisite" Independent "Here is Hemingway at his best. No one has ever written about Paris in the nineteen twenties as well as Hemingway" New York Times "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 Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Happiness ending in regret Aug. 12 2010
By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER
I appreciated this memoir of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley and their son Bumby, as they experienced Paris (and the occasional excursion to Austria and Spain) in the late 20s. In typical Hemingway fashion, he can make you feel as though you are right there in Paris, seeing what he saw, all the while describing it with sparse and plain prose.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hemingway's Best Jan. 14 2004
This is my 100th review and when I realized I was approaching number 100, I puzzled over what book to make my list as my 100th review. Hemingway immediately came to mind, but then the question was, which one? I finally decided on this, which may well be my favorite Hemingway work.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful description of Fitzgeralds June 15 2003
Honestly, I am recommending this book solely on the last three or four chapters where he talks about the Fitzgeralds. In those pages, Scott Fitzgerald comes to life and is held immortal in its print. The rest of the book is interesting and held my attention even though I don't know who everyone is that he talks about. I recognize their names though - Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound - and believe those parts would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had already read their work. One thing at a time ... I'll get to them eventually. It would also help to be familiar with the layout of Paris for he describes his the routes of his walks in detail.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...beauty is truth, truth beauty. May 10 2003
I like a good story as much as the next guy. But this is not a good story.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best subway read ever
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 more
Published 5 months ago by cy.
3.0 out of 5 stars Paris in the 20'
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 more
Published 6 months ago by bedi
5.0 out of 5 stars An underpinning to many of his subsequent novels
This collection gave me clear I site into many of the charters and events that appear in Hemingway's novels which emerged later in his writing career. Read more
Published 8 months ago by KB
5.0 out of 5 stars Book: Movable Feast
What a great book, really gave the feel of Paris, brought me back to my visit to France with my sister in 2008, memories......
Published 8 months ago by linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Very poor and very happy
A wonderful read and very easy to get caught up in! An older Hemingway looking back on the time when he was "twenty-five and living in Paris", really the period from 1921 to 1926. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Daffy Bibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
Book was in prime condition, and arrived in my mailbox promptly. The book itself is an excellent journey through Paris, France in the eyes of Ernest Hemingway. Read more
Published on May 23 2012 by knappj
2.0 out of 5 stars Not better
I fell for this gimmick by the publisher to buy a second copy of this book, but it is not as good as the first one.
Published on Jan. 1 2012 by Grangegrammy
5.0 out of 5 stars On Being Poor and Happy in Paris
This book is Hemingway's recollection of living in Paris as a young writer, including the period when he wrote "The Sun Also Rises". Read more
Published on Dec 16 2009 by Columbus
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the lucky ones
By the end of his life, Hemingway and his narratives had become so intertwined in so many ways that it was often impossible to know where the fiction ended and the real life began. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2005 by FrKurt Messick
4.0 out of 5 stars A guide to Paris and its writers
I read this book while living in Paris. From reading other works by Hemingway, I realized that A Moveable Feast isn't as sophisticated as his novels. Read more
Published on July 7 2004 by Alane Fuller
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