Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vintage Books {A Moveable Feast}


I decided to finally read Hemingway's memoirs of being a young writer in Paris in the Twenties after getting my DVD of Midnight in Paris recently. I'd been meaning to read it for a number of years, but I just kept putting it off because I've read a couple of his novels and I really don't like his writing style.
Hemingway wrote in simple sentences.
And this book is no exception.
Hemingway hated adjectives.
And descriptions.
He wrote to show you people, events and places. Not to tell you of them.
He was also very much a man's man.
However, I liked A Moveable Feast and you have to read it.
It's a fascinating memoir of how Hemingway was training himself to be a great writer by living in a small flat with his first wife and child, struggling to get by and yet still making himself write all day and every day in order to publish stories here and there.
You really get a taste of what Paris must have been like during the heyday of the Lost Generation of writers and artists that had gathered in Paris.
And there are also the stories he tells of the famous people that he was friends with. There are tales of him drinking with people like Ford Maddox Ford and Ezra Pound and borrowing books from Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co. His and everyone else's hero-worship of James Joyce and a great chapter on how much Gertude Stein's lectures and advice meant to everyone. But the saddest story of them all are the chapters about his friendship with Scott Fitzgerald and how his drinking affected him, which is worth reading the entire book just to get to.
I wish that more Lost Generation writers had written memoirs about the Twenties in Paris. It was a truly a Golden Age and a unique period of creativity and a wonderful times to be alive and I'm sorry I missed it but I know that we must live in the present and visit the past through the texts that they left behind.

1 comment:

Cazzorla said...

The interwar years in France were a magic age of artistic achievement. For the darker side of the French empire during that time, see or read Papillon. I love the film, and think it is underrated.