The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

the paris wife
The Paris Wife

Paula McLain

4 book marks

I never knew about Ernest Hemingway’s wives and was very interested in learning about his first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson and their six-year marriage, spent mostly in Paris, where they immersed themselves in the world of the Lost Generation and mingled with famous writers, poets and artists.

It was during this time that Hemingway made his name as a writer, first with short stories and ultimately with his first novel The Sun Also Rises. Having recently read The Sun Also Rises, I was also interested in knowing the actual story of Hemingway and his pack of friends who traveled to Pamplona, Spain to watch the annual running of the bulls and bullfights. It is an amazingly similar cast of characters.

I liked drawing the comparisons, which was easy to do, and I liked seeing Ernest and Hadley meet up with Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and other lesser-known writers on the scene.

I think the author did a very good job reflecting the mood of the era, which included heavy drinking, aimless travel, and senseless dialogue that simmered with an angry undercurrent.

I also liked learning about Hemingway’s writing schedule and how many times he reviewed and edited his work. I imagine he was very difficult to live with and it must have been hard for Hadley to be around so many creative types and rich and stylish tag-alongs, without being either fashionable or a serious artist or writer herself.

I didn’t check, but this account seems to be true to the facts and the whole book an enjoyable read.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

9 thoughts on “The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

  1. Reblogged this on Book Club Mom and commented:

    From the archives – sharing The Paris Wife by McLain, an excellent historical fiction about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Elizabeth Hadley Richardson, and their six-year marriage. They spent most of those years in Paris, where Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises, and mingling with all sorts of creative folks. I’d forgotten how much I liked this book, and may have to read it again!

    1. Oh, I know how it is, Carrie. One book at a time, right? But you always have to pick, so sometimes good ones get put to the side. Thanks for visiting – hope you’re having a great weekend!

  2. He is an intriguing character in his own right, isn’t he? Can you imagine hanging out in Paris cafes, drinking wine and discussing life and craft with other amazing minds. What a mystique! And probably highly romanticized. I, too, imagine that Hemingway might have been difficult to live with. Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like a great read. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’m sure he was a bear to get along with. I do like thinking about the whole Lost Generation and how creative they were. Yet they spent so much time in cafes and, in Hemingway’s books, especially A Sun Also Rises, traveling around, drinking a ton and getting into arguments. I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with that group!

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