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"A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway

Published posthumously in 1964, and edited from his manuscripts and notes by his widow and fourth wife, Mary Hemingway, and then revised by his grandson Seán Hemingway,A Moveable Feast is a memoir by Ernest Hemingway about his years in Paris as part of a group of expatriate writers in the 1920s. The book includes references to, or meetings with, Gertrude Stein, Ford Madox Ford, Aleister Crowley, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce amongst others, and details of how his first marriage deteriorated.

There are a surprisingly high number of very positive reviews and ratings for this book. I say surprisingly because, if you are interested in the names and locations of bars, cafés and hotels in Paris, and the locations where Ernest Hemingway's friends and acquaintances lived, along with plenty of inconsequential dialogue and tedious detail then you're in luck. You will probably find much to love in this book - and, as I state, plenty of readers appear to find this content very agreeable. To me, it read like a rather boring diary of someone who got progressively more tedious and objectionable the more I read. Was Ernest Hemingway really a crashing bore? Was he generally mean spirited about people who seem to regard him as a friend? I don't really care, however this is the strong impression I came away with having read this memoir.

I have only read one other book by Ernest Hemingway - "For Whom the Bell Tolls". It was much better that this. Much better. That's not to say it was wonderful but it was interesting and compelling and well worth reading if you are interested in The Spanish Civil War. A Moveable Feast, however, is really just very dull, unless you happen to be interested in the minutiae ofErnest Hemingway's day-to-day life in Paris in the 1920s. 

There's a fascinating book to be written about this era in Paris - this is not it. For hardcore fans only.