Published by Scribner on July 14th 2009
Genres: Adult fiction, Classics
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Begun in the autumn of 1957 and published posthumously in 1964, Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast captures what it meant to be young and poor and writing in Paris during the 1920s. A correspondent for the Toronto Star, Hemingway arrived in Paris in 1921, three years after the trauma of the Great War and at the beginning of the transformation of Europe's cultural landscape: Braque and Picasso were experimenting with cubist form; James Joyce, long living in self-imposed exile from his native Dublin, had just completed Ulysses; Gertrude Stein held court at 27 Rue de Fleurus, and deemed young Ernest a member of une gneration perdue; and T.S. Eliot was a bank clerk in London. It was during these years that the as-of-yet unpublished young writer gathered the material for his first novel The Sun Also Rises, and the subsequent masterpieces that followed.
Among these small, reflective sketches are unforgettable encounters with the members of Hemingway's slightly rag-tag circle of artists and writers, some also fated to achieve fame and glory, others to fall into obscurity. Here, too, is an evocation of the Paris that Hemingway knew as a young man - a map drawn in his distinct prose of the streets and cafes and bookshops that comprised the city in which he, as a young writer, sometimes struggling against the cold and hunger of near poverty, honed the skills of his craft.
A Moveable Feast is at once an elegy to the remarkable group for expatriates that gathered in Paris during the twenties and a testament to the risks and rewards of the writerly life.
The main reason I wanted to read this book was because I had recently read The Paris Wife and after seeing his first wife Hadley’s point of view, I wanted to read it from Hemingway’s own perspective.
Writing Style (repeat from The Sun also Rises)
There was a section in the beginning of the book where he describes his writing process, and I noticed that what he was saying conflicted with a quote I read from him that was mentioned in The Paris Wife.
That quote is thus: “I know now that there is no one thing that is true – it is all true.” But in the book he says “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So naturally I wonder. He must have had problems with truth.