Monday, January 23, 2012

the paris wife

Beautifully poignant. Vivid and sincere. Honest and heartfelt.

These are the words that came to mind as I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.

This book details the ups and downs of the first marriage of Ernest Hemingway, Pulitzer and Nobel prize-winning author and journalist from Oak Park, to Hadley Richardson, during the early 20th century. I was swept away by the artistic romance of the Jazz Age in Paris, but simultaneously found myself thinking, "Not much has changed in the past 100 or so years. People are just people, I guess." We will always be full of love and hope, mistakes and selfish ambition -- not really knowing what to do with any of it, but struggling through the best we can. McLain portrays this struggle through Ernest and Hadley's love, which resonated with my soul in a way I didn't expect.

If you're concerned about the accuracy, I cannot exactly say how precise she is in her telling (this is the first book about/by Hemingway that I have ever read), but can assure you that she has read all of Hemingway's books, including his own memoirs, gathered letters exchanged between the couple, and read through what seems like every book that has ever been written about him. I now have a keen interest to read a few of Hemingway's books, especially those mentioned in the book.

I clearly recommend this book so that you too can find out why Hemingway wrote in his own memoirs, "I wish I had died before I ever loved anyone but her."

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