A Moveable Feast: review

Resuming my Hemingway cycle after a few other books, which I won’t review here, I decided to pick up the next book from my bookshelf : a Moveable Feast.

In this book, Hem shares his life in Paris in the 1920’s, working on his writing after quitting journalism, being all social while enjoying copious amount of food and drinks whenever he had the money for it. Life wasn’t always easy, sometimes they were really struggling with his wife, kid and cat, but nothing that gambling on horses could not solve.

The portrayal of the old Paris, with its life around warm cafés, the lively streets, the friendly mustachioed garçons brings nostalgia of a Paris which we will never know: a lovable Paris, a beautiful, stimulating and charming place, with lovely inhabitants welcoming foreigners and colourful seasons.
How things have changed.

Hem introduces us to several peculiar characters: painters, famous and less famous writers and socialite friends, and makes us live how it was to have convivial moments during this era. Oysters. Wine. Cheese. Charcuterie! It seems the recipe for happiness with friends around the table hasn’t changed so much, in fact.
He also embarks on various trips and we can also be amazed to discover how it was to travel without smartphones, GPS or even Guide du Routard/Lonely Planet. Good all times, when reasonable people would not go on a road-trip without drinking several bottles of Mâcon wine while driving in the rain with no car roof.

Hem also uses some pages of his book to settle scores with the wife of his dear friend, Scott Fitzgerald. Zelda Fitzgerald was insane, and Hem said it before everybody else. Nevertheless, the behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lives of Jazz Age people are fascinating.

The narration flows naturally and it is a pleasure to read this tasty historical fresco. It also gives reassurance that even writing legends had their struggles finding happiness or satisfaction in their writing.
So, when you feel like you are having trouble working in a coffee shop these days, remember that Hemingway faced the same problems one hundred years ago. Close your notebook, order some champagne, and relax.

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About Fab

Solutions Architect, I build great workflows for the news and media production industries. I play with data too.

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