Wednesday, 24 October 2012
Review: A Moveable Feast
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Publication Date: 1964
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
In this fictionalized memoir, Ernest Hemingway tells stories from his first years in Paris as a blooming writer, spending his days writing in cafes and his nights in love with his first wife, Hadley. With Paris of the 1920’s as the backdrop, Hemingway remembers trying to make ends meet in the City of Lights. One of the Lost Generation, Hemingway tells stories of the people who mattered to him, such as Sylvia Beach and her beloved bookshop, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Scott Fitzgerald.
I bought this book from Shakespeare & Company in Paris, for fairly obvious reasons since the older version of the shop and its owner are on the cover. Before I left, I’d asked someone if it was a cliché to read Hemingway in Paris, and I had been told that it definitely was. All the same, I bought it anyway and read most of this book in my hostel, in cafes and even in Luxembourg Gardens. It might be a bit of a cliché, but I was the only person I saw reading Hemingway, the majority of people reading 50 Shades of Grey. There really is no better place to read this book, and it really added to my enjoyment of Paris and to reading A Moveable Feast. It was interesting to see Hemingway’s Paris in the backdrop of my Paris, and to see other writers from his perspective. I love how Hemingway breaks all the rules your grade school teacher told you about writing, and how he does so beautifully. The chapters read like short stories, and are all written very simply. Some of the stories towards the end dragged on a little, although I’m not sure if these were part of every edition or just included in mine. If you have absolutely no interest in Paris, Hemingway, or any of the writers he knew, then this book isn't for you. However, if you hold any interest in these things, A Moveable Feast is worth checking out. Whether you already love Paris and Hemingway or not, this is a great little book and perhaps a good introduction to Hemingway. Just like the city he loved, Hemingway’s writing is a moveable feast.
“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”