- Paperback: 211 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (May 29, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 068482499X
- ISBN-13: 978-0684824994
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 928 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Moveable Feast Paperback – May 29, 1996
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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
"The first thing to say about the 'restored' edition so ably and attractively produced by Patrick and Sean Hemingway is that it does live up to its billing . . . well worth having."--Christopher Hitchens, "The Atlantic"
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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.
This classic made Paris seem the romantic ideal for starving artists. It is a nostalgic look back at a time gone forever, but is not sentimental. A lovely look at at lovely time in an artist's live.