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Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife Paperback – September 6, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“Fascinating….A detailed, grittier portrait of the woman Hemingway loved and left.” (Newsday)

“Impressively researched and judiciously written . . . Diliberto has made a lasting place for Hadley in readers’ hearts.” (People)

“A bittersweet modern love story [that] reads as easily as a novel . . . their intimacy and candour was the raw material for Hemingway’s great early short stories which achieved a powerful new realism about he relations between men and women.” (Vogue)

“No one has written with such insight about [Hadley].” (The Oregonian (Portland))

“Diliberto has done an exemplary job of digging out the facts…the book brings Hadley to life on the page as never before.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Tell[s] the sweeping story of [Hadley’s] romance with Hemingway with all the warmth and excitement they generated…It portrays Hadley - somewhat neglected by Hemingway’s earlier biographers - as a spirited and interesting woman.” (Washington Post Book World)

“Gioia Diliberto’s book…cuts through the simplistic myths surrounding her subjects and gives us instead a thoughtful, detailed and rewarding look at what it cost one very talented woman to inspire the best work from one of America’s…literary geniuses.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“Skillfully shows how Hemingway’s life with Hadley was reflected in his writing . . . Insightful…Turns both Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, with all their flaws, into recognizably human figures, as it relives their bittersweet romance.” (Parade)

“Fascinating not only for its portrait of a very special woman but for its insight into Hemingway’s personality and work as well.” (Daily News)

“Beautifully crafted, rigorously researched, and absolutely heartbreaking.” (Chicago Magazine)

“An unusual biography that makes its points with intelligence and clarity.” (Newark Star Ledger)

“Juicy.” (Los Angeles Times)

“A riveting portrait . . . superbly evokes Paris of the 1920s.” (New Woman)

From the Back Cover

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the center of an expatriate community boasting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. In this haunting account of the young Hemingways, Gioia Diliberto explores their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their thrilling, adventurous relationship—a literary love story scarred by Hadley’s loss of the only copy of Hemingway’s first novel and ultimately destroyed by a devastating ménage à trois on the French Riviera.

Compelling, illuminating, poignant, and deeply insightful, Paris Without End provides a rare, intimate glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and the remarkable woman who inspired his passion and his art—the only woman Hemingway never stopped loving.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 8.7.2011 edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062108824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062108821
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Julie P Shelton on September 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This meticulously researched book reads like a novel; so much that I could not put it down. Diliberto wrote it twenty years ago, so she was able to interview some of Hadley and Ernest's friends. One of those friends had actual tapes of conversations with Hadley herself. The author weaves the tapes, conversations, interviews, letters between Hadley and Ernest and other research into a beautifully written account of their lives together. Not only is it a love story, it transports you to Paris of the twenties. The Fitzgeralds, the Murphys, Getrude and Alice are all here, but presented from the unusual angle of bit players. I didn't read "A Paris Wife", so I can't compare the two books, but this one tells the real story. Loved it.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Why should we, as readers, be the slightest bit interested in Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife?

One might make a convincing case - and Gioia Diliberto certainly does - that Hadley is the archetype for all the women in Hemingway's literature: Brett Ashley in The Sun Also Rises, Catherine Barkley in A Farewell to Arms, and Maria in For Whom The Bell Tolls. Hadley is the idealized Hemingway woman - stoic, smart, unpretentious, intelligent, devoted, romantic, and wounded.

Many of us received a tantalizing glimpse of her in Paula McLain's fictional book, The Paris Wife. Ms. Diliberto takes the portrait much further through her exhaustive research into their thrilling and doomed relationship.

In a finely-detailed depiction - to borrow Hemingway's phrase, one of the "truest" deconstructions of Hadley around, focusing strongly on "innocence lost" - Hadley emerges from the shadows of her far more famous ex-husband and reveals herself to be a fascinating person in her own right.

Ms. Diliberto reveals Hadley's dysfunctional upbringing, living with her anti-male, strong-willed, manipulative mother and sister, and exploring the commonalities that "twinned" Ernest and Hadley together - the desire to break free of domineering mothers, the fraternal suicides that haunted them, the bouts with depression, the lack of sexual experience, and the overriding love of art.

The author had access to more than one thousand pages of Hadley's letters to Ernest - as she reveals in her preface - and it shows.
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55 of 60 people found the following review helpful By C. R. O'donovan on November 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Never a big Hemingway fan, I read this very interesting book following the reading of "A Paris Wife", a fictionalized version of the same material.

This is a very thorough account, well documented, of Hemingway's first marriage. If you're not into character development detail, I suppose you would find this tedious, but it is revelatory and fascinating to those who are.

Hemingway's desertion of Hadley, who seems to have been about the best wife and friend a man could wish for is a truly tragic story that grips the heart and makes one sad for all involved, not lease Hemingway himself.

At some point one should also read Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" for completion.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Target lover on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have to ask the reviewer a question who is warning people on this site to "BEWARE! This book is a reprint of the same book that came out in the early 90's": What? Do you really think that reprinting a book is a really sneaky thing to do? What is your point? That books should never be re-issued? Wow, that would sort of rule out Hemingway himself, wouldn't it? Shakespeare too. Well, most of literature actually. Yes, it is the same book which was a fascinating read 20 years ago and still is today--maybe it is even more timely today. It comes with a new introduction, author interview and book club format and a new cover--tastes change, things change, and Diliberto's book has a few changes as well. But it is the same fascinating, meticulously researched and blast of a read it has always been, and fyi, much of that new book/novel out there (The Paris Wife) was lifted from Diliberto's, so the writer of the novel The Paris Wife obviously knows a good thing when she reads it (and steals it) as well. Diliberto has written a stunning tour de force here and I for one am so glad to see it being read and appreciated all over again. Try reading the introduction for some enlightenment Larry Belcher.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Persephone on November 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after having heard that much of the (to my mind, over rated) "The Paris Wife" derived from it. Still, my interest had been piqued by TPW enough that I wanted to learn more. It doesn't matter that it was written 20 years ago, facts are still facts.

I found this much more interesting than TPW but it didn't do much for my respect for Ernest Hemingway. What a self-centered, pity-party jerk---very much like the caricature in the movie "Midnight in Paris." Hadley was well rid of him. But a couple of things struck me, re our changing value system: one, that no one seemed to have much to do except drink and wander aimlessly; the 'golden age' was actually rather boring. Second, poor little Bumby was pretty neglected, even to his father handing him over to a train porter to take back to Paris at one point. Time after time Hadley and Ernest plopped him with someone so they could go off for a month or two, in spite of their declarations about how much they loved him. Later in an interview he admitted he didn't see much of them while growing up. Well, at least when he grew up he got rid of that moniker "Bumby." It's revealing that Ernest kept calling him that even when he asked him not to.

The question of the lost manuscripts will always be a mystery. But I seem to be reviewing the characters, not the book, and that isn't fair. The author did a very good and thorough job of tracking down just about everything in Hadley's life. Oddly, I found her life before she took up with Ernest to be more interesting, at least as a mirror of what was going on in American society at the time, and what women's options and concerns were. She was born at the tail end of the Victorian era but was an adult in the Jazz age---interesting transition.

Enthusiastically recommended for anyone who wants to know more about the era and the young Hemingway.
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