Can’t afford the Eurostar ticket to Paris? Look no further than Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast says Jessica Lane.
Hemingway’s short collection of memoirs and anecdotes transports the reader straight to the heart of 1920’s Paris. Guiding us through its winding streets and alleyways in a haze of wine and cigarette smoke, Hemingway retells stories from his days as a young writer struggling to make ends meet. A Moveable Feast is about the love of a young writer for the beautiful city around him; his inspiration to write ‘the truest sentence’ he can.
With comparison to Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris and William Boyd’s Any Human Heart, Hemingway’s memories read like a who’s who of the early 20th Century literary scene; Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis helping to give a fascinating depiction of Paris as a creative meeting point. The famous Shakespeare and Company bookshop, still going strong today, acts as the bohemian centre for like-minded travellers, but perhaps most intriguing is the account of Hemingway’s burgeoning friendship with F Scott Fitzgerald, and his wife Zelda.
Whilst Hemingway’s complaints of extreme poverty may be slightly overstated, his Parisian memoirs act as a nostalgic love letter to a city that easily retains its magnetism. A veritable ‘feast’ for the senses, Hemingway’s writing encapsulates life on the streets of Paris: ‘We looked and there it all was: our river and our city and the island of our city’.