Joy H.'s Reviews > A Moveable Feast

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
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's review
Jun 18, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: audio-version

Added 5/18/12.

"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." -Ernest Hemingway, to a friend, 1950

I listened to the audio version of this book in April 2012. It was read by John Bedford Lloyd. Our local library's catalog description says:
"Set in 1920s Paris, A Moveable Feast is a memoir of Ernest Hemingway's expatriate years in France, including details of the cafes, restaurants, and apartments he frequented. Scattered throughout his narrative are cameos by other prominent expatriates, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein."

Actually, I didn't see why people raved about it so much. Except for Hemingway's mention of famous people, I didn't find it that interesting or extraordinary. The writing seemed so matter-of-fact and plain. Even the descriptions seemed matter-of-fact. I suppose that was Hemingway's style. At least I experienced the book, even though it didn't carry me away. It was something I had always wondered about, having heard the expression "a moveable feast" so many times.

The CD explains how Hemingway chose to leave the "e" in the word "moveable" and that's how it stayed.

One of the the GR descriptions says:
"Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized."

Another description says:
"On every corner and at every café table, there were the most extraordinary people living wonderful lives and telling fantastic stories. Gertrude Stein invited Hemingway to come every afternoon and sip "fragrant, colorless alcohols" and chat admid her great pictures. He taught Ezra Pound how to box, gossiped with James Joyce, caroused with the fatally insecure Scott Fitzgerald (the acid portraits of him and his wife, Zelda, are notorious). Meanwhile, Hemingway invented a new way of writing based on this simple premise: All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know."

One of the GR members wrote: "Hemingway’s style will always strike me as more or less mannered and ridiculous, but what I read of A Moveable Feast was especially bad—solemn, pompous, dialed down to a portentous slow-mo."

It had occurred to me that Hemingway sounded "pompous", with a kind of "showing-off" attitude. Now I see that others felt that way too. See the rest of this GR member's review here:
The review has 56 comments! They should make interesting reading!

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol I read k"The Paris Wife" a while ago. It was about the same period and it was very good.

Joy H. Hi Carol - I've been meaning to read The Paris Wife.
Below is a link to my review of it:

message 3: by Joy H. (last edited Jun 20, 2012 07:41AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joy H. The Crandall Library in Glens Falls will be discussing The Paris Wife in October of this year. See their reading list here:

The discussion group is called the "Monday Evening Book Group." See:

message 4: by Carol (new)

Carol Thanks. I'll be back in Florida in October, but have bookmarked this site. I see they discussed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks this past Monday---I loved that book!

Joy H. Yes, I missed that meeting. I think I'll put the book on my to-read list.

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