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 admid 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
From Publishers Weekly
This restored version of Hemingway's posthumously published memoir has been revised to reflect the author's original intentions. The result is less a fluid narrative than an academic exercise, with the bulk of the story—Hemingway's travels, escapades, encounters with other writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald—followed by material read by his son and grandson, and some additional sketches and fragments excluded from the final draft. John Bedford Lloyd is faced with the burden of providing a passable version of Hemingway's voice and largely succeeds, but it's much more satisfying to listen to Hemingway's son Patrick, and his grandson Seán, who, in addition to sharing their own reminiscences, offer a hint of what Papa himself might have sounded like. A Scribner hardcover. (July)
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