Book Review: Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast”

As a part of #FinishYear, I will be reviewing books I read in 2012.

Unexpectedly, I loved Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.

I fully expected to grit my teeth and grimace my way through my reading.

Why did I read this book, you ask, if I was anticipating a torturous reading? This summer my crazy family is traveling and one of our destinations will be Key West. Key West! Where Hemingway lived at one time. My turbo-charged nerdiness is coming out. I love to visit where authors have lived, slept, wrote. It is inspiring. I consider it a very holy experience.

Anyway.

This book read as a brilliant collection of essays. I forgot I was reading. Instead, I found myself walking with Hemingway. Walking the Parisian streets. I sat next to him in the cafe and peered over his shoulder as he wrote and drank.

Feast is written by an older Hemingway and yet it did not feel that way.

Hem (it’s what I call him now) wrote this book in the late 1950s and finished it in the spring of 1960.

A Moveable Feast is Paris for young Hemingway in the 1920s.

His voice young. His perception young. He stayed true to his younger days.

This is simply Hem in Paris. In the 20s. In love. Out of work. Out of money. Writing.

With his words, Hem fleshes out authors, poets, and artists: Ezra, James Joyce, Fitzgerald, Picasso (to name a few).

Some of his descriptions left my mouth hanging open or made me laugh aloud or made me pause in sympathy.

I can say I’ve been to Paris now:

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Hemingway to a friend, 1950

***

Favorite quotes

“My,’ she said. ‘We’re lucky that you found the place.’
We’re always lucky,’ I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood. There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too.”

“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

“For a poet he threw a very accurate milk bottle.”

“We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.”

“I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”

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9 comments

      1. Sounds really interesting. I just read my very first Hemingway the Old Man and the Sea a few weeks ago. It was really interesting..different. Such a unique tone. I am quickly becoming a fan of “Hem.”

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