Friday, June 15, 2012

Listened: "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain

Listened: The Paris Wife by Paula McClain, 2011, downloaded off a OneClickDigital trial, I think.

Not so bad.  I enjoyed the book.  A neat look into people and places I am only faintly familiar with.

I know little to nothing about the literary types who gathered in 1920s Paris.  What I do know is that they were young, drank a lot, socialized a lot, and that some people find this fascinating.  To those fans of the '20s the title must be a quick tip-off to the story.

Paris Wife is Hemingway's first wife (of four), Hadley Richardson.  Except for three or four short passages about Hemingway's feelings the whole story is by Hadley.  Hadley was raised in St. Louis.  Hadley never had any romances until she was about 30-years-old and visiting a pal in Chicago.  Hadley meets Hemingway, eight years her junior, they fall for each other.  She returns to St. Louis.  They write one another.  She returns to Chicago.  They marry.  They end up going to Paris to give him a chance to write.

Hemingway can be a real dickhead.  After a time he rejects those who help him and he is controlling of Hadley.  Hemingway keeps journals on various daily chores and routines, including keeping track of Hadley's menstrual cycle.  That's weird, man.

Haldey and Hemingway meet famous people.  HadleyandHemingway drink a lot.  HadleyHemingway travel Europe.  HadHem want have pet names and want Hemingway to write.  HH are very close.  Cracks appear.  Hemingway digs chicks but keeps it in his pants.

Hemingway starts porking Hadley's best pal in Paris, Pauline.  Hadley finds out.  Hadley tries - what is she trying, and how?  To stay with Hemingway I suppose, even though Pauline inserts herself into the marriage, a a fait accompli menage a trois.  How's that for some Frenchy talk?

Hadley has enough.  Hadley skips France.  Hadley returns to France and marries a US journalist.  Hadley only talks to Hemingway a couple more times over the next 40 years.

1.  F. Scott Fitzgerald and other literary types appear as pals and party acquaintances.
2.  Many people spending lavishly and living beyond their means.  Many people living off family wealth.  Hemingway does not like the rich.
3.  Jack 'Bumby' Hemingway is always shunted off to a maid or sitter.
4.  Post-war Paris is free wheeling.
5.  Gratuitous Ezra Pound.
6.  Bullfighting.

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