Friday, July 1, 2011

"The Paris Wife"

Hemingway, Hemingway, Hemingway! I haven’t thought much about Ernest Hemingway for years, but in the past few months he has re-entered my consciousness several times, through his novel “The Sun Also Rises,” which I re-read and then posted about on 2/27/11; the film “Paris at Midnight,” which I posted about on 6/9/11; an article about him in an airline magazine, of all places, which I posted about on 6/29/11; and now the bestselling novelized version of his first wife’s life, “The Paris Wife” (Ballantine, 2011), by Paula McLain. This novel recaps some of the information we all know by now about the Hemingway years in Paris in the 20s, but it adds (in a fictionalized version) much information and many insights both about Hemingway and about his wife Hadley. They had a lot going for them, including a child, and it was in some ways a golden time for them as well as for their group of friends, but Hemingway’s writing always came first, and Hadley was often lonely. And after a few years, he was somehow able to justify in his own mind that it was acceptable for him to have an affair with a dazzling woman, a free spirit, whom both Ernest and Hadley had been close to. The affair broke up the marriage. Although the novel gives Hemingway his due, and presents a rounded portrait of his strengths and weaknesses, finally we see that he was essentially selfish in feeling he should be able to have everything he wanted, no matter the cost to those around him. This novel is well written and fast-paced, a literary page turner.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter