Top critical review
I found her to be passive and boring. While doing some fact checking connected with the ...
May 17, 2018
I read the Paris Wife as a book club assignment several years ago and didn’t care for it. Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife was supportive but never seemed to have an idea or interest of her own. I found her to be passive and boring.
While doing some fact checking connected with the Paris Wife I learned about Matthew Gellhorn, his fascinating third wife who became the prominent war correspondent of the 20th century and who is the subject of this novel.
The book begins with the start of their romance and concludes with the bitter dissolution of their marriage. Hemingway seems to have no redeeming qualities except for his superb writing talent. He is presented as a macho poseur who treated women badly. Whether they were passive like Hadley or adventurous and independent like Gellhorn, he soon became disenchanted and gloomy.
In the beginning the Hemingway/ Gellhorn couple seemed like soulmates. Although at the height of his success as a novelist and reporter he had dark moods and seemed jealous that she was establishing a career as a successful war correspondent. He began treating her badly. Gellhorn planned to continue her work for Colliers Magazine by reporting on the invasion of Normandy. Hemingway having world wide fame deceitfully took her expected assignment unbeknownst to Gellhorn and also took the travel booking that should have been hers. She managed to stow away on a hospital ship and became the only woman on the beach during the battle. She got much closer to the action than Hemingway who already had his fourth wife lined up.
I wished the story had continued to show the aftermath for this courageous, intriguing, liberated woman. She covered every war from the 1930’s through the 1980’s, including Vietnam Nam. While well into her 80’s she was in Brazil reporting on street children. She opened the way for female war correspondents. Her life after Hemingway would make an interesting novel!,