One of my closest friends told me that one of his favorite books was A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. Considering we started a book club recently, we decided to read it together and discuss it as a group one fine morning at a Starbucks.
I’ve read a couple of Hemingway’s, and I have only the utmost adoration when it comes to his works. And despite the fact that A Moveable Feast is as soporific as it is mind boggling, I truly had the strangely best time reading it.
The setting is in Paris, in the era of dinosaurs. Kidding, but this was pretty ancient. Hemingway and Hadley, his first wife, were living in Paris, a city so vibrant and full of artistic souls.
There, Hemingway met a great deal of people from whom he learned important lessons and formed odd friendships with. He managed to befriend a handful of notable writers, who influenced him and introduced him to different ways of viewing things.
In Paris, life hit and built Hemingway. There, he found art and literature bound to everyday life just like bread and butter. He saw things he wouldn’t find back home, and had conversations considered taboo in other places. He let his mind explore possibilities and branch out his opinions from other minds around him.
Each chapter introduced us to a person or a place, but all taught us something that he had learned. It was a collection of short stories, and I saw them as the puzzles of Hemingway’s highlights in Paris.
He noted several times in the book how later on his marriage to Hadley would end, and I reckoned his description of her displayed a lot of love and appreciation which I believe he had failed to give her in the end. At times reading it, I felt like reading a love letter of regrets, the many years taking toll on Hemingway to perhaps remind him of Hadley’s endless support and unconditional love for him. Which, of course, he discarded just like that for Pauline.
To say that this book won me over would be a lie, because I felt a bit of injustice in the ways he brought about other people in his life. However, it was the beauty of his writing too. The fact that he could make his characters look to us the way they did him back in the days was impressive, and the way he narrated his Paris was nothing less than stellar. Hemingway was a master of words.
I would really recommend this book to anyone visiting Paris. Anyone who would like to see the city from a different pair of eyes. To relive what Hemingway went through and visit his memories.
And to learn from his mistakes and companionships.
There were so many themes going on in this book, and plenty of life lessons. It was definitely an enjoyable experience.
It could be a little bit boring to those who aren’t used to Hemingway’s style, but fear not, it got better.
A Moveable Feast is a 7.5/10 for me. And surprisingly, I’d read it again.