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Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Moveable Feast-the first memoir

Hemingways' Moveable Feast is a memoir before Frank McCourt had ever thought about writing Angela's Ashes. Now we are awash in memoirs to the point children are writing them which of course defeats the whole point. But Hemingway wrote this thirty almost forty years after those apprentice years in Paris and it has that delicious quality of imagination intersecting with memory. These vignettes are amazing for the writer because you cannot help read this book and marvel at how just plain out lucky Ernest Hemingway was to be in Paris during the twenties.

A literary renaissance occurred in Paris during the early part of the twentieth century. Writers and artists from all over the world descended on Paris and Hemingway was there at the center. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, Picaso, Ezra Pound, to name just a few. And there was Hemingway at the center of it all on his wife's trust fund after the end of World War I. The world was up for grabs after the war to end all wars and people wanted something different in everything.

Hemingway's sketches are that of a young man finding his way. There is the one where he goes to Gertrude Steins apartment and reads her his work and she chides him for not being realistic while her lover Alice B  Toklias sits silently in the room. There is the moment his wife is snubbed by Gertrude Stein, the moment he is on a Ferris Wheel with Fitzgerald's wife Zelda and realizes she is insane. The trip with Fitzgerald across France where he gets drunk and passes out. These are little gems and Hemingway was quite unaware he had pioneered a form of fiction that wouldnt' find voice for another fifty years.
His latest novel is Rocket Man due out in January

Books by William Hazelgrove