Review: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is non-fiction work written by Ernest Hemingway, describing his life in Paris in the period of 1921 to 1926. He describes his life at that period and how we had met some famous authors during his stay in Paris.

See below some quotations concerning his meetings with Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), Ezra Pound (1885-1972), Ernest Walsh, Scott (1896-1940) and Zelda Fitzgerald (1900-1948).

Page 17 – About Gertrude Stein:

In the three or four years that we were good friends I cannot remember Gertrude Stein ever speaking well of any writer who had not written favorably about her work or done something to advance her career except for Ronald Firbank and, later, Scott Fitzgerald.

Page 49 – about Ford Madox Ford:

I was trying to remember what Ezra Pound has told me about Ford, that I must never be rude to him, that I must remember that he only lied when he was very tired, that he was really a good writer and that he had been through very bad domestic troubles. I tried hard to think of these things but the heavy, wheezing, ignoble presence of Ford himself, only touching-distance away, made it difficult. But I tried.

Page 63 – about Ezra Pound:

Ezra was Kinder and more Christian about people than I was. His own writing, when he would hit it right, was so perfect, and he was so sincere in his mistakes and so enamored of his errors, and so kind to people that I always thought of him as a sort of saint. He is also irascible but so perhaps have been many saints.

Page 70 – about Ernest Walsh:

Ernest Walsh was dark, intense, faultlessly Irish, poetic and clearly marked for death as a character in a motion picture.

Page 84 – about Scott Fitzgerald:

His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred. Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love off light was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.

Page 105 – about Zelda Fitzgerald:

I did not know Zelda yet, and so I did not know the terrible odds that were against him (Scott F.). But we were to find them out soon enough.

Page 111:

Zelda was very beautiful and was tanned a lovely gold color and her hair was a beautiful dark gold and she was very friendly. Her hawk’s eyes were clear and calm. I knew everything was all right and was going to turn out well in the end when she leaned forward and said to me, telling me her great secret, ‘Ernest, don’t you think Al Jolson is greater than Jesus?’

Nobody thought anything of it at that time. It was only Zelda’s secret that she shared with me, as a hawk might share something with a man. But hawks do not share. Scott did not write anything good after he knew that she was insane.

Recently, some books The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain and Z: A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler have pointed out Hemingway’s some “aversion” against Zelda Fitzgerald.


2 thoughts on “Review: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  1. I have just finished reading A Moveable Feast as well, in fact I read it straight after Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, which was excellent (thanks for linking to my review).

    I think Hemingway’s comments were unfair and unkind. He was indeed a very good friend of F.Scott Fitzgerald, but his nemesis was alcohol not Zelda, though he was dependent on her and needed for her to be at his beck and call whenever he required. She suffered from not being able to pursue her own passions and interests in life and from that gradual awareness that though they lived as if they had money, much of the time they did not.

    Hemingway was unlike Fitzgerald, he had his own failings, but writing to Hemingway was like what alcohol became to Fitzgerald.

    I really enjoyed A Moveable Feast as well and must go back and finish the half-read Gertrude and Alice by Diana Souhami, which is also excellent if you are interested in that lost generation.

    • I do agree with you Claire since I read first “Z” which I loved it. Hemingway wasn’t able to understand Zelda’s illness, on the contrary.

      Thanks for the recommendation, I will add “Gertrude and Alice” in my TBR.

      Happy readings!!

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