Memoirist Laura Janis Thompson Instagrammed the other day that she is reading it. And I happened to mention its author at the end of my previous post. Both of those are, I suppose, the reasons for this post: they got me thinking about the book again.
Ernest Hemingway’s 1964 posthumously published memoir, A Moveable Feast, is in this early 21st century among his most read books.
He had been working on it on and off and on and off for some years before his 1961 death. After he was gone, his widow Mary – his fourth wife – edited it and had it published; and to her credit she made no major changes, so what was published was evidently essentially what Hemingway had written. It focuses on his recollections of his life in Paris in the 1920s.
Some readers approach this book thinking it is going to be some sort of Paris travel guide. It is not. It is primarily Hemingway’s perspective about what he saw and experienced – and it centers on people.
It includes memories of Gertrude Stein (“I think the reason I am important is that I know everything”), Ezra Pound (“The art of letters will come to an end before A.D. 2000. I shall survive as a curiosity.”), and probably the most famous author and personality of them all now, nearly a century on, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who after a difficult trip within France with Hemingway, was the one who prompted Hemingway’s now famous (and stinging) observation that you should never travel with someone you don’t love… which appears in this memoir in its complete context.
Since its publication the memoir has been generally praised by critics and most readers. It is probably also worth bearing in mind that while not “unfinished” technically, had he lived longer Hemingway likely would have revised it further. So while not a “draft” it is also probably not as polished as perhaps it could have been.
With over 2,000 Amazon reviews, it gets 4 1/2 stars – pretty good for so many ratings. Of course, though, not everyone likes it. Indeed some are willing to be blunt about… HATING it.
If you think that any authors are “immune” from “1 star” Amazon reviews, uh, think again. Here are some I screen captured the other day. Enjoy the negativity! LOL!:
I don’t even read German, and I am guessing that is pretty blistering. LOL!
All you other authors (or would-be authors) out there, feel better now? LOL!
Have a good weekend, wherever you are. 🙂