Full of gossip and acute observations, advice on the craft of writing and how to make your money go further, together with a great deal of bitchiness and not a little sadness, there is something compelling and immensely entertaining about Hemmingway’s memoir of Paris in the 20s, A Moveable Feast.
Hemingway’s personality shines through and his colourful sketches are often tinged with a comic, juvenile, macho competitiveness. Highlights include:
- Slagging off Ford Madox Ford (‘holding himself as upright as an ambulatory, well clothed, up ended hogshead.’)
- Revelations of intimacy involving Gertrude Stein & Alice B Toklas
- Poking fun at F Scott Fitzgerald’s anxiety about size induced by something Zelda said
- Reflections on Zelda’s impact on Scott’s writing, his hypochondria, and insecurities regarding The Great Gatsby (’To hear him talk of it you would never know how very good it was, except that he had the shyness about it that all non conceited writers have when they have done something very fine …’)
- An inability to distinguish between the wickedest man in the world, the devil worshipper, Aleister Crowley, and Hilaire Belloc
- Trying to get TS Eliot out of the bank
I read the earlier edition and I would like to read the 2009 Restored Edition put together by Sean Hemingway. The differences between editions provide an insight into authorial intent and authenticity.
I understand Mariel Hemingway has bought the film rights. A movie of the book would be something to see. Leo as Hem, Danny de Vito as Gertrude Stein, Tom Hiddlestone as F Scott Fitzgerald … ?