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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. Hemingway was a master at incorporating elements of his own life and experience into his fiction, and acting out elements of his stories in his own life, that by the time of this text, 'A...
Published on Dec 7 2005 by FrKurt Messick

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3.0 out of 5 stars Memoir or Just A Bunch of Memories?
After returning from a trip to Paris I decided to read this memoir by Hemmingway because I heard he loved Paris as much as I. I have to say I imagined a beautifully descriptive book filled with telling prose and wonderful scenes of Paris. I love the way Hemmingway writes but this book disappointed me. It may be that it was published after his death and slapped together...
Published on May 31 2004 by V. Marshall


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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Melancholy, July 23 2002
By 
P. Zrimsek "zrim" (Northfield, MN United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
What a fine book. The remembrance of Papa Hemingway of the time when he was simply Hem. The work is sparse. Certainly, many of the details are intentionally ommitted. In many ways A Moveable Feast is a big tease. Just like Hemingway's best short stories.
Hemingway gives the reader the gift of a small insight into the life of a young artist in 1920s Paris. We see Hemingway hard at work writing in the cafes; hard at play flirting with painters' models; at home loving his young wife; at the foot of the looming Gertrude Stein. Hemingway also sketches his thoughts on Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, Pound, and Fitzgerald. Lots of kernals--nothing fully flushed out. That's why it works, I think.
If Hemingway sat down and wrote a full memior, I am sure the reader eventually would fly away screaming, "enough is enough, you big gasbag." But Hemingway knew that his best work left the reader wanting more, left the mystery intact. We only get a glimpse of Hemingway which does not begin to explain his complex self-destructive personality--but it is a glimpse of genius, which, in this case, is enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When he was the finest writer in the world., May 25 2002
By 
L. Dann "adhdmom" (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
Hemingway is by now an American archetype, in his case the primal American male, warrior, artist, sensationally strong and brilliant. Like all lives, his had many rebirths, u-turns and abandonments. The Feast always struck me as coming from one of his less desperate, forced periods; literary and lived. He wrote without his boxing gloves on, one might say, free to capture and illuminate 'scenes,' that have resisted time. The Austrian ski experience is the quintessential skier's paradise. It has stayed with me, a non-skier- for the solitary unmarked Alpine splendor, sans mechanical lifts, lines and pervasive adolescent snowboarders, no this was an effortless slide off the earth into another realm.
The gossip, doesn't survive with as much brilliance, and that is probably best. The Fitzgeralds are familiar even to non-readers, they've become part of our popular culture. Let's let them stay there.
Hemingway, I would argue, achieved every writer's dream of subordinating and then transcending words replaced in the reader's mind with "sight." This book is recalled as a series of scenes. The end of the volume, not only did that, but enjoined and lent empathy to the reader's own inner, similarly sad, experiences. The foreshadowed end of what had been a deep love-based marriage, has never been written, in my experience, so perfectly. There are some who were offended by this inclusion, as they were, no doubt by Hemingway's betrayal of Hadley. However, I believe the betrayal is mythic, and part the fall from grace, by which we suffer. Hemingway learned one of the gravest lessons of the human condition, that is, that love doesn't last, romantic love eventually, and cruelly dies.
Despite the many years between the first readings of this classic, I always remembered that scene when forced to reckon in the same way with my own evaporating loves. That picture, a shamed, adulterer watching the woman he would hurt, still wrapped in what she believed was a certain marriage never fails to take my breath away.
And I can subordinate the macho, hard drinking, overkill bravado, of the later Hemingway to the younger author. The equally innocent younger man, not yet dependent upon booze and blood sports, used for the real battle, i.e. with major and disabling depression. He lost that one, to suicide. One of the tenderest books- from he who would strive for the darker side of delicacy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Memoir of a Young Hemingway in Paris, March 14 2002
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Hardcover)
This posthumously published short book is a memoir of Ernest Hemingway's Paris years in the mid 1920's. It is written as a series of brief vignettes with real names. Hemingway looks back, writing in the late 1950's in Cuba to the days in Paris when he was poor, young and happy. Hemingway describes coming to Paris from America in the early 1920's and meeting some of the literary expatriates of the Left Bank. He describes his friendship with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Ford Maddox Ford. He recalls a rainy road trip taken across France with F. Scott Fitzgerald. He joins Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company lending library and takes vacations to Italy, Austria and Spain. He works as a journalist for the Toronto Star while writing short stories and seeking to make a name for himself as a writer. He describes his discovery of and passion for bullfighting. He publishes collections of short stories and begins work on his first real novel.
Hemingway's Paris days are spent sitting in cafes. He takes the act of writing seriously and sets out rules to keep his mind clear and prevent writer's block. He takes delight in discovering Shakespeare and Company, the Paris bookstore selling English language books. He has plenty of time to go sightseeing with his first wife Hadley during those years in Paris when they were "poor and happy."
There is palpable sense of the older Hemingway looking back nostalgically on the good old days. He speaks frankly of his old friends, pulling no punches even to the point of portraying them quite unflatteringly. Most interesting of all is his ritualized approach to writing. He writes only in the morning, usually alone in a small room he has rented just for that purpose. He forces himself to stop while his story is still unfolding in his mind so that he will have something to write about the next day. He makes a point of reading books, visiting museums and especially observing Parisians going about their daily business. These things he incorporates into his writing.
This is not a novel in the traditional sense, nor is it a rigidly chronologically ordered memoir. The starting and ending points of the vignettes are not specifically defined. I would recommend that anyone who reads this follow up by reading Michael Reynolds's "Hemingway, The Paris Years." The timeframe of the two books almost perfectly coincides and Reynolds's book will give you a perspective on the things Hemingway leaves unsaid.
The final chapter in which Hemingway places the blame for the break-up of his first marriage to Hadley on his second wife Pauline Pfeifer, while not taking any responsibility for his unfaithfulness, is almost bizarre to read. Since this book was published after his death, it is surprising to me that his children by Pauline did not wish to see it suppressed. Pauline is portrayed as a husband stealing, back stabber single mindedly luring an unwilling Hemingway away from his loving gullible wife and young child.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Infinitely interesting., March 2 2002
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
Anyone who enjoys twentieth-century Western literature will dig A Moveable Feast. It's simply inevitable. Hemingway knew and hung out with pretty much all the major American literary players of the early twentieth century - James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound. It gives some background behind all those books you've read, and it gives real human faces to their authors (as opposed to just entries in encyclopedias). And there's something infinitely cool about the fact that at some point, all of these people were poor, struggling to get by, destined to become great, and all knew and talked to each other. They're all brought to life on these pages by Hemingway's infectious enthusiasm, making this autobiography as good as any novel.
In a sense, this book is the effective culmination of where the author had been going towards the end. In his later books, such as Across the River and Into the Trees (also very highly recommended by me), Hemingway showed a sort of quiet, elegiac nostalgia for the past. His characters increasingly lived in the past, reliving old memories until the line between past and present became blurred in their minds. (Recall how Santiago kept reminiscing about his youth, or how Richard Cantwell kept coming back to his wars.) Well, that's most likely because Hemingway himself was longing for the days when "we were very poor and very happy." Now he finally stops masking his feelings by putting them into fictional characters and writes in the genuine first person. And the emotional weight of his longing, finally met completely head-on, is what makes A Moveable Feast such a great, visceral read.
Of course, what helps is the number of interesting characters he interacted with - and his very witty caricatures of some of them. The beat-down of Gertrude Stein is absolutely hilarious, and doubly so for anyone who, like me, cares little for her asinine "works." Hemingway isn't afraid to deride anyone who he thinks was phony or pretentious (and there are many such people), and this makes for great entertainment. But others are treated with more respect. Take, for instance, F. Scott Fitzgerald. The editorial review says that Hemingway's portrait of him was "acidic." Nothing of the kind. True, Hemingway points out his embarrassing character flaws like his poor handling of spirituous beverages and his conduct while intoxicated, but he always makes sure to reiterate that Fitzgerald was a brilliant writer. He praises The Great Gatsby to the skies, and he bitterly laments the fact that Fitzgerald didn't entirely fulfill his enormous potential. Moreover, he calls Fitzgerald a great friend, at one point even his only friend. Now, his opinion of Fitzgerald's wife Zelda is completely different, and _that's_ where the "acidic" part really comes in. Clearly he felt that she was unworthy of Fitzgerald, that she dragged him away from his writing, and that she was a loon, and he blames her for what happened to her husband.
Then, at the ending, after all the jokes and anecdotes and observations, something very extraordinary happens. Hemingway tells a final story about how he and his first wife travelled into the mountains and skied at a resort. And here, all the book's wistfulness and melancholy suddenly disappears to reveal an undercurrent of very bitter longing, as Hemingway drops several extremely biting comments about idle rich people who addle the brains of young writers with their excessive praise, and some absolutely brutal remarks about various lying "friends" who think nothing of breaking up couples, stealing wives or leading away husbands. And then he concludes with his remark about being very poor and very happy, and only then, in the book's last sentence, do we realize the full extent of just how much this time meant to him. And when we do realize it, the way he ended his life should come as no surprise to any of us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A way of living, Nov. 12 2001
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
Reading 'A moveable feast' was a very rewarding activity. Why ?
It created a special new frame of mind inside of me, which lasted weeks after reading the book. This is pretty rare and even thought it has faded now, I know this story is something I will carry with me through further life, and it will bring me good things.
I think one can rightfully call Hemingway the 'master of small happiness', because this is the frame of mind I am talking about. The taste of oysters, wine and café-creme, the feeling of being in your favorite café, the feeling of writing and reading and -most important of all- the delight in discovering what people are like and the intense motivation to keep on making new discoveries: a boxer without teeth can provide you with an equally intresting evening/life lesson as a skilled poet can. What this book told me is: keep the eyes open,for incredibly intresting things are happening all around you every second, and always here and now.
How Hemingway achieved this, is a mystery to me. His writing is very simple, as if he's writing some kind of diary AND he puts in a lot of names I have never heard before. Usually, this isn't the ingredient for a good book as far as I am concerned.
Yet I was swept away and will surely buy more of his work. I can't wait to read how he describes Africa.
The way I see it: if somebody can bring out the same message in a simple story as A Huxley did in an incredibly complicated one, he deserves a lot of attention. As far as I am concerned, he will get it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Full Stomach, May 13 2001
By 
"dumbsaintpoet" (Toronto, ON CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
Of all things that we huddle dear to our heart, it is the memories that are never quite shed, and Hem had such memories that it would have seemed absurd not to share them.
Fortunately, he did, because once read, you're dizzied by an array of his personal experiences with artists and nature and plain, moveable life. It is not an accurate, historical memoir, but it was never intended as one.
As any recount of memory, it is usually fragmented and replaced by preconceptions Hem had, or is added upon to make it more interesting, but, in no way, do these alterations by a fine tailor diminish the powerful message prevalent throughout the entirety of the book. The message being, Paris, what it represented, and the life lived during, was a moveable feast.
And it was.
Paris in the twenties, recounted by Hem, was that sound you heard when you put seashells to your ear, the sound of rushing blood. And more. By his eyes, we lived in an epoch of seminal dreams and apparitions; a world so young and happy it took on a fantastical percept.
Paris was a beacon to the great writers of the time, at that time, and Joyce could be met up with at Sylvia's bookstore sometime in the late afternoon, or eating with his family at Michaud's, or coming out of some matinee; Gertrude Stein was at her studio, making speeches and liqueurs; Fitzgerald was around, somewhere, partying. There, maybe?
All these sketches painted a life that would be envied by anyone, because it was a life so full and robust, it exploded each day into another day which would explode into another and...
"Memory is hunger," says Hadley, Hem's first wife. Did she really say that? Who knows? But does it matter when it's true.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, April 29 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
This is a great book, with breezy writing that looks deceptively simple. It does have Hemingway's quirks. For one thing he misleads the reader into thinking that Fitzgerald never helped him edit THE SUN ALSO RISES. But that's Hemingway's ego not wanting to acknowledge a competitor. Fitzgerald DID in fact help Hemingway edit SUN, and on his advice, Hemingway cut a long section about Brett Ashley's background, that the book started with, and started it, instead, with the background on Robert Cohn. And Dunc Chaplin, the baseball player wasn't even in Paris when Hemingway says he was with Fitzgerald when they met. He also cuts people down, and to mitigate his bitchiness toward them, he goes overboard in his praise of Ezra Pound, as though to convince the reader that he wasn't all bitchiness. These aren't really criticisms of the book, they are actually part of it's catty charm. Hemingway's humor comes through, in probably the only book of his that shows humor other than THE SUN ALSO RISES. A great memoir. One of the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ability to Create Contentment, March 28 2001
By 
ME Passantino (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
I bought "A Moveable Feast" for the mere reason that the title was fascinating to me. What a brilliantly simple yet eternally poignant title it is--and that's just the title, for what's inside is truly sublime.
I am sorry for Hemingway, in a way, that his private musings were published for all the world to see after he took his own life. I am joyous, nevertheless, that they were. Imagine, for instance, the delicious details that no one would have known about the real lives of some of the greatest writers of the 20th century...I am especially fond of his caricatures of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. These are sure to be enjoyable to most any reader. Hemingway offers candid, thoughtful snapshots and reflections of Fitzgerald that forever change the way we think of the creator of one of the most famous and widely read novels of the last century, "The Great Gatsby." This masterpiece is a wonderful bridge for those who think they "don't care for Hemingway." That said, not everone who picks it up will automatically be changed by it because the reader must be in a certain place of his or her life for these reflections to speak to his or her heart. Peering into Hemingway's mind is not for the light-hearted or simple-minded. It is for the reflective soul. This book is a sincere revelation of the pure joy that we can summon when we reflect on and revel in our experiences of the beauty of life. In the same way that Paris, his friendships, his unique antecdotes about seemingly mundane situations, and the like were "moveable feasts" to Hemingway, so too can beautiful joys in our own lives be with us at all times and in all places. I only wish that Hemingway had remembered to bring his feasts with him the fateful day that he took his genius from the world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars PAPA, ON PAPA, BEFORE HE WAS PAPA, Nov. 14 2000
By 
Loren D. Morrison "amateur_reviewer" (Los Angeles County, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Hardcover)
A MOVEABLE FEAST is many things to many people. First of all it is, as my title suggests, Papa Hemingway, near the end of his life, reminiscing about himself at the beginning of his writing career. Next, it is a commentary on a group of young American expatriates who came to be known as "the lost generation." Finally, though perhaps unintentionally, it is a physical guide for those of us who would like to explore the Paris of the 1920's.
I have no way of knowing whether or not the young Hemingway was ever as naive as he is painted by the older Hemingway. In scene after scene, Hemingway takes the most outlandish utterances at face value. As an example refer to his luncheon conversation with Ford Madux Ford. I won't ruin your fun by giving you the details. Along these same questionable lines, he describes his first wife, Hadley, as being a rather mild creature who follows his lead in everything without ever expressing a contrary opinion or desire. Fact, or tricks of an older man's memory? Who knows?
Regarding "the lost generation," we are treated to an anecdote wherein Gertrude Stein's mechanic first coins the phrase. We are also introduced to the likes of Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company book store and publisher of Joyce's "Ulysses," and, of course, Gertrude Stein and her companion who remains nameless in this book. In the early years, Hemingway liked Stein and Hadley detested her nameless companion whose function was to "talk to the wives."
Now to my favorite part; A MOVEABLE FEAST as a guide to Paris as it was, and mostly, still is. On my last trip to Paris, I carried a copy of A MOVEABLE FEAST with me, and, with it, spent a couple of enjoyable afternoons on the trail of Hemingway, Stein, Pound, et al.
Since the book opens with the Hemingways living on the Rue Mouffetard, it was the beginning of my "lost generation tour of discovery." Rue Mouffetard is still there, not too far from the Latin Quarter and the River Seine. It isn't much changed from Hemingway's day with the possible exception of a modern underground bowling alley. One still sees meat display cases featuring pig snouts and ears, and skinned rabbits.
Many of the rest of the locations mentioned in the book are in Montparnasse within just a few minutes of each other, and again on the left bank, only a few minutes walk from the Seine. I started with Hemingway's apartment. The sawmill beneath it is gone, but the building still stands there. A few hundred yards up the street, Ezra Pound's house still stands. We were able to locate Gertrude Stein's apartment from the address given in the book, and sat in her courtyard waiting for Hemingway, Joyce, and perhaps Picasso to drop by.
Again, only a few hundred yards from Hemingway's apartment, we visited the Closerie des Lilas, Hemingway's "home cafe," where he could be found many mornings doing his writing. The only change is in the prices. These are only a few of Hemingway's haunts that can be located by using A MOVEABLE FEAST as your guide book.
In summary, for me, A MOVEABLE FEAST is a mini guide to my favorite city and a mini history of my favorite era in that city.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Aug. 30 2000
By 
J. Bayon "jabay" (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Moveable Feast (Paperback)
First and foremost I have a natural bias for Ernest Hemingway because I simply love his writing, but if you too like Hemingway and his broad body of work you'll enjoy this as well. I enjoyed this 'fictional memoir' because it gives you an inside look into the grand expatriate experience that was Paris in the 20's. It leaves you in awe at all of the great literary and artistic minds that rubbed elbows in Paris at the time. Furthermore, it's interesting to read Hemingway's retelling of his experiences with the different individuals(i.e. James Joyce, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Ford Madox Ford, Ezra Pound, etc) and how his relationships with them changed, for better or worse, throughout his years in Paris. The picture he paints of Paris gives you a vivid depiction of the time and people living their, makes it a fascinating reading experience. Also, he doesn't really glamourize it he just presents the reader with a first-hand account of his everyday life as a struggling writer looking to other great minds for inspiration and guidance; i.e. Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ford Madox Ford. A great read all and all, and a must for lovers of the Hemingway craft.
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A Moveable Feast
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - May 29 1996)
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