Thursday, September 1, 2011

From My Book Shelf


I have always admired Ernest Hemingway's work.
I love his "to the point, no excess baggage"
style of prose.
I remember a college professor I once had
 saying of  Hemingway's style  of writing,
"What takes Faulkner three pages to tell you,
 Hemingway will tell you in one sentence."

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain is fiction,
told from the point of view of his first wife, Hadley.
If begins with their first meeting at a party,
his wooing of her, her total adoration of him,
their marriage and then their
Paris years.

If you were creative in any way,
Paris was the place to be just after WWI.
What I liked about this book is its glimpse into
Hemingway's Paris years.
I like that the book references his conscious
efforts to hone his writing  into his
characteristic terse style.
The book is also a name dropper,
and it was fun to read about Ezra Pound,
Gertrude Stein, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
These were all friends of the Hemingways' in Paris
and the book does a nice job of defining how each
mentored and influenced Hemingway's writing.

The book is also a domestic drama
about Hadley and Ernest's relationship.
Hadley is presented as a "plain Jane,"
somewhat out of place in the heady Paris,
but hanging on for dear life....
or should I say "dear Ernest?"

Ernest evolves into the total egocentric
we all know he was, and before long
has moved the soon to be, second Mrs. Hemingway
into his and Hadley's life.

I enjoyed this book and it has whetted my appetite
to read  A MOVABLE FEAST,
Hemingway's own version of this story.

7 comments:

From the Kitchen said...

My Muse book group just discussed this book on Tuesday evening. We all liked it a lot and, since most of us had read "A Moveable Feast", discussed that as well. Wouldn't it have been interesting to be a part of that group gathering at Gertrude Stein's salon. I love to read Hemingway but consider Faulkner to be America's greatest writer--so far!!

Best,
Bonnie

Carmie of the Single Nester said...

I've read so many reviews of this book. Right now, I am stuck on Maine. It is just okay and right about now, I will be owing the library about 3 bucks since I haven't finished it yet :)

Privet and Holly said...

I love real stories
{as you can probably
tell by my blog}and
this one sounds great.
What an exciting time
to be in Paris. It
would be fun to contrast
the two stories....his
and hers!
xx Suzanne

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Ahhhh... I am so far behind in my reading!! Another one to add to the ever growing list! LOL!

Stitchfork said...

Another recommendation for my ever-lengthening list! Enjoy the holiday weekend!
xo Cathy

Martha said...

I've seen other comments about this book -- it is on my list. My DD has always admired Hemingway, was saddened by his death. Thanks for the review.

mytwocentsworth said...

Although Hemingway is not one of my favorites (I prefer Steinbeck), your post has convinced me to put this book on my read list after all--particularly since I'm trying to envision Paris in my future. Another book related to Paris that you and your readers might check out is David McCullough's new book called "The Greater Journey--Americans in Paris." It's all about Americans traveling to Paris during the late 1800's to experience real "culture," and has gotten rave reviews. I've read only the teaser first chapter on my daughter's Kindle, and will probably wait for the paperback as the book is about 500 or so pages.

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