Ernest Hemingway's a Moveable Feast Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1965
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Top reviews from the United States
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I had read "A Moveable Feast" a number of times before reading this article and never once did I doubt that every word in that amazing memoir about Paris in the 1920's was all Hemingway. Recently, I received as a gift a restored edition of Hemingway's classic and my first instinct was simply to read the first nineteen stories which made up the original book published three years after his death in 1964, and to skip the other stories which seem to have magically appeared after 40 years.
A Hemingway enthusiast, like myself, swore to me that he had read the restored edition and he had no doubt that the new stories were definitely Hemingway, all Hemingway. Reluctantly, I gave in and read the additional stories and to my surprise, I had to agree with my friend. I thoroughly enjoyed them and they were most definitely all Hemingway.
"A Moveable Feast" is truly one of the outstanding memoirs written by any writer. The stories involve some of the most famous writers and personalities of the 20th century ... Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Sylvia Beach yet at the very heart of all these stories is Hemingway's undying love and remorse at leaving his first wife Hadley. She is the heroine at the heart of this wonderful collection and Hemingway makes that perfectly clear.
It is impossible to read many of these stories without shedding tears. It is as truthful and honest as anything I have read, and there was nothing more important to Hemingway as a writer than honesty.
The clear draw is insight into the writer's early life in a marvelous city most of us love. We must keep in mind he was in his mid-twenties too, and not yet an established author. Physical and mental scars from WWI had not healed. Themes of mental illness and alcoholism are explored in other people, not himself.
The great cafes of Montparnasse and Saint Germaine remain, somewhat gentrified, perhaps still a stage for all the diverse people who frequent them. Today's artists and writers probably can't afford to live in Hemingway's old neighborhoods, but they are somewhere within the Peripherique, recording their Paris. The author would understand.
Affection for his first son and first wife, "the heroine" of the book abound. There are some interesting insights into the craft of writing. The overlong introduction and postscripts by his relatives may or may not be of interest to the reader who is not "a scholar". For those who love the city, and/or the author, there is much here to savor and some to ignore.
Top reviews from other countries
I thoroughly enjoyed this book for a number of reasons, but mainly, I like Hemingway's style of writing, his humour, and observations.
I think this book has a certain timeless feel to it, and sums up perfectly the spirit of 1920's and maybe 21st Century Paris (hope so).
Anyway that said, I am now a Hemingway convert, and I plan to read some more of his works.
Although a slim volume, an easy read and very good bedtime reading. A very personal account, almost a diary with some highly critical observations about others, particularly Fitzgerald.
The nature of the work made me feel he was talking directly to me. It is not a once only read, but one for me that I will return to from time to time.
I will consider this alongside writings by others, on their thoughts about him and find out if they were as critical of him as he was of them.
A point in time when many of the great creative minds merged into a group that are now remembered not only for their writing but also for the free lifestyle they created for themselves and were copied by others in the 20th century and beyond.