Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE PARIS WIFE AND ERNEST HEMINGWAY



When was the last time you read books by or about Ernest Hemingway?  Was it in college or maybe for a book group? What inspired this question was reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Her novel is a fictionalized account of Hemingway’s first wife Hadley Richardson, whom he met in Chicago. They were married for 5 years. The novel is an example of outstanding historical fiction, using accurate dates and describing real historic figures, but creating fictionalized conversations and capturing the moods and motivations of the main characters. The Paris Wife is very compelling, a page-turner that's easy to get into. 

If it's the real thing you want, the Monrovia Public Library also has most of Ernest Hemingway’s novels and short stories, many of them the most famous titles in American literature. But, there is another way to approach Hemingway. What if you read historical books on the library shelves that related to the time so beautifully related in The Paris Wife? Hadley: The First Mrs. Hemingway, a biography by Alice Hunt Sokoloff, emphasizes just how Hadley’s gentle personality helped center the abrupt Mr. Hemingway.

Less Than a Treason:  Hemingway in Paris by Peter Griffin is about the author’s early years in France, when he was trying to write books that would actually sell for publishers. France was also where he met mentors Gertrude Stein and poet Ezra Pound.It was in Paris Hemingway found F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had already published The Great Gatsby, but who was addled by drink and self-destruction. Scott and Ernest: The Authority of Failure and the Authority of Success by Matthew Bruccoli is a biography of the two authors who wanted to create their own myths about who they were.

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