Recently I've been reading, or trying to read, Gertrude Stein. So when I spotted at the library A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's catty memoir of his time in Paris between 1920 and 1926, I decided it was time to re-read it.
There are two reasons to read this book. One is to find out what Hemingway thought about some of the major literary figures of his day - or at least what he thought about them forty years later. He claims credit for spotting Zelda Fitzgerald's madness early on and he describes her machinations to keep Scott in an alcoholic haze because she was jealous of his work. He is less than flattering about Gertrude Stein. He is absolutely scathing about Ford Maddox Ford, who, by the way, helped him get published when he was an unknown. Gratitude is not Hemingway's strongest character trait.
The other reason for reading A Moveable Feast is to walk the streets of Paris with the author, and he does make the sights, sounds, and smells of Paris graphic. Beer at the Brasserie Lipp, cafe au lait at the Deux Magots, buying a petit pain and some cheap charcuterie and making a rough sandwich with sliced radishes. If you have ever lived in Paris it all comes flooding back as if you had dipped a madeline in your tea.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964) 211 pages. 4 / 5