Paris in the 1920s lit up by all those expatriots

  • Book: A Moveable Feast
  • Location: The Latin Quarter (5/6 ème)
  • Author: Ernest Hemingway

Review Author: Dvora

Location

Content

Having just read That Summer in Paris by Morley Callaghan, I thought it would be a good idea to reread Hemingway’s memoir on the period he lived in Paris, just before Callaghan arrived to visit. It was a good idea.

I don’t seem to have enjoyed the book that much the first time I read it (having given it only three stars), but this time I found it wonderful and didn’t want to put it down. One of the things I was curious about was Hemingway’s depiction of Scott Fitzgerald. Callaghan seemed to have gotten a very different view of Fitzgerald (and Zelda) than I remember in Hemingway’s telling. And yes, the two describe two similar yet substantially different Fitzgeralds. So now the dilemma is who to believe. Hemingway knew the Fitzgeralds for many years. Callaghan was only there for a few months, the summer of 1929.

All that Hemingway describes in this book he does simply, often with as much or more dialogue than description. And the stories (or vignettes) are wonderful. Stories about the two waiters at the Closerie des Lilas who had to cut off their mustaches, Evan Shipman, Ralph Cheevers Dunning, Ford Maddox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and avalanches on the Austrian alps in Schruns. You love some of these people and dislike others. But they all seem very real and it’s hard to imagine they weren’t just as Hemingway says they were. And Fitzgerald too.

 

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