Yay for me! Another Classics Club book off of the list! For those who aren’t familiar, The Classics Club is a challenge to pick classics (at least 50) and read them all over the next 5 years. For those who read my initial list you know it’s more of a “books I always wanted to read or re-read.” Most of my list is re-reads of books I either loved as a kid or want to re-visit, books I was supposed to read, and books that I love the author and want to experience more of their work. The plan is to have my list of 50 all read by December 28, 2020.
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
NonFiction – Classics
Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast accounts for Ernest Hemingway’s life in 1920’s Paris with his first wife Hadley. The entire book is filled with sketches of his daily life and what it meant to be a young and poor abroad artist living abroad post-war. Each one different from the next and describing the different relationships he was able to form with fellow Americans as part of what Gertrude Stein described as the lost generation. Featured throughout includes Hemingway’s thoughts on Gertrude Stein, F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and the cafes and bookshops that he visited throughout the city.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Hemingway and I’m not really sure why. I love The Old Man and the Sea, need to be in the right mood for war stories, and then that’s really it? I’ve read excerpts of this before but never at one time. While this was definitely an interesting read I enjoyed some chapters and some were a meh. I really liked his early chapters about him Hadley going out and the at-length description of the food and the parties. I’m a little iffy about how I feel about the Fitzgerald chapters. It was a little depressing to read because you know how it turns out for them but it also wanted to make me go and reread Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Overall, I don’t feel like I have a ton to say about this because I love Hemingway and a lot of these authors even when I hate them, something about Paris in the 1920’s just fascinates me. Anyway this definitely wanted to make me reread The Sun Also Rises so I count that as a win.
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
“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.”
“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”
“But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there.”