“Wife” first, “Paris” second

  • Book: The Paris Wife
  • Location: Europe, North America, Paris
  • Author: Paula McLain

Location

Content

Quite rightly, this book is mentioned in Wikipedia’s entry on Hadley Richardson as it really gets you inside her head. First and foremost it’s a book about people and their relationships (primarily, but not exclusively Hadley Richardson’s marriage to Ernest Hemingway). Because these were real people, the recorded events happened in real places (e.g. Chicago, Paris, Pamplona).

While the book does evoke the spirit of many of these places, they are the backdrop to the people and the age – the important element is that the Hemingways met and interacted with many of the artistic greats of the 1920s, such as Gertrude Stein and F Scott Fitzgerald.

If you’re interested in people and relationships (or maybe even if you’re not), this is a fantastic portrait of a marriage set amongst a group of extremely unconventional people. If you’re interested in the artistic creativity of Jazz Age Paris or the agonies of trying to create your first significant work then you’ll certainly appreciate this book.

Ultimately, like “Trilby”, set 40 years before, this is a book which could only be set in Paris, but it isn’t essentially about Paris itself, it’s about the expatriate artist community who once lived there.

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