Book Review: A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

I ordered this book in January 2021, and re-discovered it on my "to read" shelf two weeks ago. Our men's book club now is in our three-month summer break, and it was a perfect little book and I enjoyed it immensely; it took only a week or so to zoom through the roughly 200 pages and twenty short stories. Hemingway wrote it over a nearly four-year period between 1957-60 as he moved between Cuba, Idaho, and Spain, finishing it back in Cuba. The book was published after his self-inflicted gunshot death in 1961.

The stories reflect more or less real-time on the years 1921-26 when he and his then-wife lived in Paris in a thriving and creative community of brilliant but then still mostly poor writers, poets, and artists. Gloria Stein was an apparently wealthy "grand dame" who entertained and encouraged Hemingway and many others at her comfortable apartment. The stories are easy to read and are written in a casual and intimate manner almost as diary entries. As the title suggests, the book indeed is a movable feast of interesting individuals, restaurants, and bars in a memorable city.

On a personal note, I spent a lot of time in Paris (and in Germany) in a four-year difficult period while working for a small Pennsylvania semiconductor company between my long stints at Motorola. I was GM of the Integrated Circuit division, and we had cooperative arrangements with large German and French automotive firms where we supplied custom semiconductor integrated circuits that were designed to fit their specific needs. When in Paris, we (mostly me) stayed at the Hotel George V (George the Fifth), a wonderful old luxury hotel smack-dab in downtown Paris right off the Champs-Elysees. The hotel now is part of the Four Seasons Group but was independent at the time and the bar at the George V was (and I certainly hope it still is) a wonderful place to sit and people watch. The who's who of Paris (and the world) seemed to circulate in and out constantly. Reading Hemingway's description of Paris back in the nineteen-twenties brought back some of "my" Paris in the nineteen-seventies and early eighties.

2 Responses

  1. JK James George
    From Anon-1: JK, in case you've never seen it, one of my favorite Woody Allen films is "Midnight in Paris." Even if you're not a Woody Allen fan -- I've heard rumors that such people exist -- you're sure to like it. It includes the notables that you reference plus a good many more.
  2. JK James George
    From Anon-2: WOW ... how interesting. I'm going to check that book out. Thank you! Always love reading your reading thoughts and insights appreciated.

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