Wednesday 2 January 2013

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

I've struggled with this book.

Not the writing style - I actually don't mind Hemingway's pared back, non-descriptive language.

And I love all things Paris.

There's something about Hemingway himself - the man comes across as being a pompous, self-righteous old git!

As I moved through A Moveable Feast I realised that I didn't trust Hemingway's observations or opinions of other people. I didn't believe what he was telling me. It felt like I was reading the self-justifications of a dying man.

Perhaps The Paris Wife and Hadley's side of the story was still too close to my heart. Whatever the reason, the end result was the same; Hemingway failed to move me.

Hemingway may be a great American writer - profound, respected and influential - were 3 words I kept coming across when I goggled him, but I failed to connect to him at all.

Sadly, in Hemingway's hands, even Paris seemed like a bland, any-city entity. I didn't get from his writing why Paris was his 'moveable feast'; why it was so influential and significant within the course of his life that he wanted to write a book about it.

But I think the part I struggled with the most was his dialogue. The language and the actual conversations seemed stilted and pointless. They rarely moved the story on or revealed anything significant.

A Moveable Feast has left me with no compulsion to read anything else by Hemingway.
But I will continue to read all I can about Paris and Scott Fitzgerald!


  1. Although I read and loved A Moveable Feast, I don't particularly like any of Hemingway's other work - the few I've read, that is. I still have a couple of his books on my shelf, which I'll probably get to some time.

    I love everything Fitzgerald, though. I can't get enough of him.

  2. I haven't read hardly any Hemingway, and he isn't high on my list of potential reading--my father always said he was a hack, which influences my inclinations--but I love Fitzgerald! Thanks for finishing this one so the rest of us can gain from your experience.

  3. The only Hemingway I liked was his first collection of short stories, "In Our Time." And I agree, "A Moveable Feast" was Hemingway being a jerk about all of the people he called "friends" (when they were alive, that is--after they died, he enjoyed making fun of them). I suspect Hemingway can't make you excited about Paris, because the only thing Hemingway was ever really excited about was... himself! :)

  4. Anonymous21/1/13

    A Moveable Feast, I would say, is not about Paris. It's about an old and bitter man's attempt to settle scores against people who could no longer defend themselves. Far from Hemingway's best.

    1. I'm glad to hear this is not representative of his writing ability!

  5. I can't wait to read this one...

  6. That's true that he is very critical of the group of people around him. In that sense, he is "very French", lol!! I'm French, so I'm allowed to say that we French tend to always criticize others, anything and everything!


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