A Moveable Feast: 10/21/08
Ernest Hemingway was married to Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, his first wife, from 1921 to 1926. They lived in Paris during that time. A Moveable Feast is Hemingway's posthumous memoir covers this time in his life.
This short and fascinating book has two contradictory introductions; one by Hemingway's final wife, Mary and one by Ernest himself. Mary, who edited the book after his death, describes how her husband wrote the book and what is covered in the book. Ernest Hemingway's introduction tells the reader to consider the book a work of fiction!
So which is it? It's probably both. The book covers historical events and real people (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford, Ezra Pound among others). But it was written from 40 year old memories and comes without footnotes or other documentation. Memories are fleeting and subject to augmentation whether intentional or not. Finally, Mary apparently did a fairly heavy editing job on it, significantly changing the tone of the memoir. Her edits may have turned fact into fiction.
Does A Moveable Feast's dubious status matter? No. It's still a fascinating portrait of the early years of Ernest Hemingway's career. It still shows Hemingway's wit. Hemingway's description of his fellow writers is worth the read just to see them described as actual human beings.
Learn more about Ernest Hemingway at Timeless Hemingway.
I have only read one Hemmingway book, For Whom the Bell Tolls. My sisters are more fond of him, and have several times recommended A Moveable Feast to me, but I never did pick it up yet. Glad to know a bit more about it. "
Comment #2: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 16:03:05
For Whom the Bell Tolls is my favorite Hemingway novel. I think you'll like A Moveable Feast.
Comment #3: Saturday, October, 25, 2008 at 12:38:08
I LOVED this book. I read it as an extended apology to Hadley. Fact or fiction doesn't matter, especially if that's openly acknowledged. Both convey truth.
Comment #4: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 11:45:20
Yes, the apology is there and I should have mentioned it in the review.