Title: A Moveable Feast
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“Published posthumously in 1964, “A Moveable Feast” remains one of Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft.”
Thoughts: A Moveable Feast is a relatively light-hearted collection of essays and vignettes about Hemingway’s life in post-war Paris with his first wife Hadley. His uber-mensch personality explodes from the page, as he expresses even the minutest details of his life at this time. From his obvious enjoyment at eating and drinking, to his somewhat guilty pleasure at gambling on horses, to his very serious and methodical approach to his writing, every word is carefully crafted to afford the reader a very intimate glimpse into Papa Hemingway’s life as a young man and young father.
His essays are a veritable who’s who of the literary elite, as he shares his impressions on such notables as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others. As one would expect from such a larger-than-life character, he does not hold back in his praise, his sarcasm, or his honesty. The reader gets a very clear image of the life these expatriates lived at this time, all the while learning a bit more about Hemingway’s frame of mind. As acquaintance after acquaintance succumbs to mental instability, poverty, infamy, or illness in the form of suicide or death, Hemingway’s easy acceptance of such events is chilling, especially given the family history and his own unfortunate demise.
Hemingway’s obsession with taking a novel into new directions is apparent to even the casual reader, as he plays with his sentence structure and word choice in each new essay. He does not bother to hide his aspirations to be considered one of the world’s greatest authors and frequently references the fact that his own opinion of his ability as well as his works are extremely high already. The evolution of his skills and well as the growing sense of egotism at those skills is interesting to watch unfold, especially if the reader has experienced any of Hemingway’s other works.
A Moveable Feast is one of those novels of which a reader can easily finish in one sitting and enjoy every minute of it. Even the most depressing essays have their charm, while their glimpses of the artistic Parisian life in the 1920s are unparalleled. Ernest Hemingway simply comes alive again on each page. It is easy to see why some consider A Moveable Feast one of his best works, as Ernest Hemingway comes alive on each page.
Acknowledgements: I purchased this on my own.