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!

7 comments:

  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.

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  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.

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  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! :)

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  4. 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.

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

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

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