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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last summer that Paris was Paris, June 30, 2009
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This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Exile Classics series) (Paperback)
Canadian writer Morley Callaghan was a 20-year-old student who had talked his way onto the reporting staff of the Toronto Star when a star war correspondent named Ernest Hemingway came on board. Hemingway knew another writer by instinct and took the younger man under his wing, continuing to advise and advocate for him after decamping to Paris. Thanks to Hemingway's letters of introduction, Callaghan had begun publishing and lusting after the utopian writers' community he envisioned the Paris of the Lost Generation to be. Finally, in the spring of 1929, he and his bride Loretto took off for France where things were slightly different than expected. Thirty years later, a photographer who had recently met Hemingway in Idaho relayed that Hemingway had recalled Callaghan rather fondly, especially a boxing match they had, with Fitzgerald as timekeeper. The message casually relayed by the photographer unleashed powerful memories of that pivotal summer and the result is this book.

Callaghan looked forward to the camaraderie of Hemingway, Joyce, Fitzgerald and the others. He was eager to talk literature, debate one another's work in a like-minded group and draw creative energy from its air. Instead, Hemingway seemed to value their friendship most when the short, fat Callaghan was expertly challenging him in the boxing ring. Hemingway was avoiding the café culture and especially an old friend, Fitzgerald. Callaghan ended up meeting Fitzgerald, Joyce and Hemingway's first publisher, Robert McAlmon, on his own. He and his wife enjoyed the lifestyle all the same but sensed change in the air. As someone observed, the Lost Generation was no longer lost. It had found an anchor in Paris and grown quickly into so many famous names. American tourists were traveling to Paris to gawk at them. Zelda Fitzgerald was on the psychotic edge; Hemingway had left one marriage for another.

That Summer in Paris reads like a well-constructed novel. The boxing match Hemingway would remember thirty years later becomes the climax, after which everyone begins moving on. Callaghan muses on the irony of how quickly the players would change: the stock market crash took away the world of which Fitzgerald wrote with authority, Hemingway and others who had never been particularly political would become involved in political causes and New York would take over as the intellectual center that Paris had been. This is an interesting account not only of the end of the Lost Generation in Paris but a meditation on the role of community in a writer's life and one man's opinion of his peers and what art is and is not. This does not compete with A Moveable Feast; it is a valuable first-hand account by an insider of the end of the era Hemingway's memoir more fully chronicles.

A note about this edition: There is no critical introduction but someone clobbered together book club discussion questions, some of which are okay and some of which reveal certain biases behind them.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timing is everything, May 23, 2000
By 
Owen Hughes (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Paperback)
They say that timing is everything and the fact that this particular writer just happened to be sitting on the Boulevard Montparnasse on the right evening of the right year, means we have a further insight into the lives of those Paris expatriates, Hemingway and Fitzgerald and others. At the same time, this may be an opportunity for some people to discover Morley Callaghan, who is a very fine writer in his own right. His life ran parallel to Hemingway's for some time, as they met in Toronto and later in Paris and remained friends thereafter, even if they saw each other only rarely. In a sense, he is just the person to give us a penetrating look behind the legends that were being created in the cafés and bars of the ville lumière at the end of the thirties. This is a delightful book as well; Callaghan is nobody's fool, which means he's not writing for the mundane reasons that might otherwise be expected, and you can trust him. He is painting a portrait of a world teetering on the very brink (it is the summer of 1929), and in his own artful way, he has succeeded in giving us a rare glimpse into the ill-lit streets and nightclubs just before it all fades away into the decade of hopelessness that followed. It's well worth finding this book if you can - it's a little gem.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *the* must-read literary memoir of Paris in the 1920s, December 20, 2003
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Paperback)
Canadian writer Morley Callaghan (1903-1990) published 16 novels and more than 100 works of short fiction, and he was one of the first Canadian authors to make his living solely from his craft. Callaghan believed in capturing the bare truth and honest emotional content of people's lives, so his prose shuns stylistic busyness. Edmund Wilson called him "the most unjustly neglected novelist in the English-speaking world," and Maxwell Perkins called him the world's best short story writer.
THAT SUMMER IN PARIS, as a memoir of Paris in the 20s, is every bit as engaging a book, if more limited in scope, as Hemingway's A MOVEABLE FEAST. The book begins with Callaghan's inspiring story of meeting Hemingway while working on the same paper in Toronto--at the time Callaghan was in his early 20s (still in college), and Hemingway was a couple years older. Hemingway had temporarily left Paris and was in town working for the paper to provide his wife Hadley with the benefits of Toronto hospitals during childbirth. Hemingway quickly became a sort of literary patron for Callaghan and, when he returned to Europe, took Callaghan's short stories with him and passed them around Paris. Fitzgerald became enthusiastic about Callaghan's work and also began championing him with Paris and New York publishers. After Callaghan published 2 books of fiction (in no small part due to the help of his "Paris friends"), Callaghan finally made his own visit, with his wife, to Paris in 1929. The anecdotes he recounts are simply marvelous, and I can't recommend the book highly enough. Boxing matches with Hemingway, Fitzgerald's drunken histrionics, a strange evening with Joyce and a phonograph... it's priceless stuff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely readable, April 29, 2003
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Paperback)
I had never heard of Morley Callghan before reading this book. Which is unfortunate because the book is hard to put down. It is well-written, informative, amusing, thought provoking and gives insight into several notable literary figures from a first hand perspective.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Closer to the truth but still fun, December 26, 1999
By 
Patience Carter (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Paperback)
That Summer in Paris by Morley Callaghan is another version of Hemingway in Paris which is probably a lot closer to the truth.
If you need or want to know the truth, read this book. Hemingway sure made a seductive myth about himself. We don't fault him for improving on the truth. The Hemingway version is fun to read but this one is fun too.
By the way, Callaghan wrote an outstanding short story called "Luke Baldwin's Vow." You can see why Hemingway thought highly of him.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading, December 4, 1998
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Paperback)
A perfect companion to Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast"...written about the same people and time, but with a different point of view...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great memoir of the Paris expatriate crowd in 1929; highly recommended!, January 7, 2012
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This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Exile Classics series) (Paperback)
Morley Callaghan's excellent memoir of the expatriate scene on Paris's left bank in 1929, THAT SUMMER IN PARIS, was first published in 1963. Callaghan wrote the book because he found he was deeply affected by the tragic suicide of his one-time friend, Ernest Hemingway, and memories of Paris from that long-ago summer began to float to the surface of his mind until he decided to write of it.

I 'discovered' Callaghan's memoir when I read of it in the recent scholarly and excellent book, Stein and Hemingway: The Story of a Turbulent Friendship, by Professor Lyle Larsen. THAT SUMMER IN PARIS was recently faithfully and stylishly reprinted by Exile Editions, which is the version I now own.

Callaghan, who was apparently well-known in Canada (he died in 1990), was a new writer to me, but now I may have to seek out some of his other work. I enjoyed this book that much. His style of writing is deceptively simple and straightforward and he doesn't appear to take himself overly seriously. He tells his readers right up front that writing should be about the thing itself, and not hidden in metaphors or symbolism, or something to that effect. This approach is certainly followed in THAT SUMMER, which offers a clear-eyed and moving portrait of his separate friendships with Hemingway and Fitzgerald. "Separate" because Callaghan makes clear that there was something between the two men which precluded a real and close friendship, something Callaghan himself is unclear on. As a young aspiring writer with just one book to his credit, Callaghan makes no secret of his enormous admiration for both men, but as he gets to know both of them better, he comes to feel sorry for Fitzgerald, a tortured soul, alcoholic and saddled with a wife who is mentally ill. There are also vague intimations that Fitzgerald may have been a repressed homosexual, which may have been the 'something' between him and Hemingway which precluded any lasting or close friendship. Moreover early in the narrative Callaghan muses that he was "half convinced that writers couldn't go on being friends. Something would always happen that would make them shy away from each other."

Perhaps there is indeed some jealousy or mean spiritedness in this difficulty between writers, as evidenced in an observation once by Oscar Wilde: "It isn't enough that I succeed. My friend has got to fail a little." (I feel compelled to confess that I got this Wilde quote from another writer acquaintance, Ward Just.) In any case, although Fitzgerald appeared to be hungry for Hemingway's friendship to an almost embarrasing extent, Ernest generally kept himself apart from Scott.

As a practical and extremely perceptive young man, Callaghan recognized these difficulties between the two men, and yet managed to remain friends with both of them. With Hemingway he donned boxing gloves and became a regular sparring partner, a macho kind of friendship initiated by Hemingway. His friendship with Fitzgerald was more cerebral and literary in nature, and he also acted, if unwillingly, as a liaison between the two men.

Callaghan was a man with strong opinions on writing and other writers and had no compunction about giving them. He admired Fitzgerald's work without reserve, but seemed to feel that Hemingway's A Farewell To Arms was his best work (an opinion I share), while he dismissed the fine Nick Adams tales as "his little Michigan stories" - an opinion I do not share. (But then I am from Michigan.) He is equally dismissive of the French writers of the time, Mallarme and Gide, for example. And of Henry James he writes -

"That style of his in those later books! I began to hate it. Not layers of extra subtleness - just evasion from the task of knowing exactly what to say. Always the fancied fastidiousness of sensibility. Bright and sharp as he had been in the earlier books, the fact was that James had got vulgar - like a woman who was always calling attention to her fastidiousness."

Of Gertrude Stein, Callaghan was equally scornful -

"I no longer had any curiosity about the grand lady ... Abstract prose was nonsense. The shrewd lady had found a trick, just as the naughty Dadaists had once found a trick. The plain truth was, as I saw it, Gertrude Stein now had nothing whatever to say."

Bravo, Morley! What you just said? Me too. However, the one thing that Callaghan and Stein might have agreed upon (from what I read in the Larsen book) was Hemingway's true nature. Both thought he was, in reality, a gentle and sensitive man very unlike the overly macho public persona he had created of himself, always bolstered enthusiastically by the press and rumor-mongers. Callaghan talks repeatedly about a "sweetness" in the man. Stein went even further, suspecting that Hemingway may have been a suppressed homosexual. This was, and continues to be, a cause for speculation, but could indeed explain the tension between Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

The truth is, Callaghan's very intimate and literary account of that memorable summer just before the stock market crash which would decimate the fortunes which allowed such lives of expatriate ease and decadence is an immensely sympathetic and readable portrait of his own development as a writer, as well as the excesses and tormented relationships between other prominent artists and writers of the time. More simply, Morley Callaghan was an extremely likeable guy and a wonderful writer. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir BOOKLOVER
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, September 16, 2005
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This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Hardcover)
If you enjoyed A Moveable Feast then you will appreciate Callaghan's That Summer in Paris even more. Callaghan has a terrific writing style that makes for a painless and enjoyable read though it is definitely for the fan of the Paris in the twenties crowd. The book is filled with anecdotes pertaining to the great writers of the 20th Century such as Hemingway, Lewis, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Etc. Etc. Callaghan captures the darker and more fragile side of genius. Do yourself a favor and read this one, it'll stay with any true fan of the "lost generation".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Literary Paris of the 1920's, September 23, 2012
This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Exile Classics series) (Paperback)
Anybody who loves reading about the romantic literary Paris of the 1920's will love this non-fiction book, written by a Canadian author, Morley Callaghan, of his time there with Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and other famous authors of the era. I have read That Summer in Paris twice and loved it. If you like biographies of famous writers, you will love this book. It was a very touching well-written memoir.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A shorter but better man than Hemingway, November 24, 2013
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This review is from: That Summer in Paris (Hardcover)
Happily married, hard-working, devoted to writing....Morley Callaghan is the perfect antidote to Hemingway. A good college boxer and pitcher (unlike Hemingway), a graduate of both college and law school (unlike Hemingway), and a reporter (like Hemingway) on the Toronto Star, Callaghan provides a graceful and modest contrast to the vitriol and egotism of Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast."
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That Summer in Paris (Exile Classics series)
That Summer in Paris (Exile Classics series) by Callaghan Morley (Paperback - June 1, 2007)
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