Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tell a Tale: The Paris Wife

“Not everyone out in a storm wants to be saved”
Paula McLain, The Paris Wife

Summary (from Goodreads):
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Parts of this book I loved and parts annoyed me to pieces. This book gives us an idea of what life was like living with Ernest Hemingway when he was still a struggling writer waiting to be discovered. The scenes created make you want to step back in time and become part of their crazy circle of friends but sometimes I just wanted to shake the characters to knock some sense into them. It's about real people though, so maybe they really were like that, just like the rest of us mere mortals.

Ernest and Hadley Hemingway - 1920
I am quite embarassed to admit I've never read a Hemingway book.  Have you?  He has a very distinct way of writing and over the years gained a reputation as a 'manly man'.  I'm not sure if his writing would appeal to me, but I guess I'll never know unless I try reading one of his books.  Any suggestions on where to start?


Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

This book made me angry too!!! ugh. I did like it, but I got very emotionally vested in it lol

Meig Heyburn said...

Hemingway is my favorite author. The Sun Also Rises is one of my very favorite books (the other being Matilda - I have eclectic tastes!) and it's not really 'manly' as much as a realization of where we fit in this world and how relationships work (or that's what I get out of it, anyway). I haven't had the opportunity to read Paris Wife but it is definitely on my to-read list!

Donna Wilkes said...

Wonderful review. I have not read this one, but I do love stories about the Lost Generation. Did you see the movie Midnight in Paris recently? It is about a writer who wishes he lived during that time. Any of Fitzgerald's books will reveal more about this self-absorbed group. I am looking forward to this book.

Maya Kuzman said...

Hemingway was obligatory reading in high school and at university (I majored English literature)so I've read most of his works.


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