It’s February and I’m reading A Moveable Feast with Wallace at unputdownables.net. We’re halfway through the book now and I am enjoying it, although I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn’t read The Paris Wife and heard the author tell of her experience in writing the book! Many are not enjoying it as much – his writing style, his attitude and self-importance. Below are the comments that I made on Wallace’s blog on this week’s reading (to chapter 17).
I am caught up!
I am enjoying the reading and find myself looking things up all the time! From words that he uses (inaccroachable:http://www.fictionaut.com/groups/matchbook/threads/307) to the phrases that he uses (clearly marked for death: http://secondandpark.com/2010/02/hemingway%E2%80%99s-delightfully-callous-disses/ ).
Some things that I’m keeping in mind about him as I read this come from listening to the author of The Paris Wife and my suppositions that I arrived at while reading that book. He is very young during this time and had already faced tragedy in the Great War. He was injured and fell in love with his nurse, who wrote him a Dear Ernest letter after his recovery and return to the US. I think he probably had some “demons” (read: PTSD) from the war that affected how he had relationships with people. Paula McLain also talked about how he could never be without a woman. He went from relationship to relationship, never ending one until another was started. It is noted that he hated his mother, his father committed suicide (as did Hadley’s) and he received ECT (shock treatments) at Mayo Clinic in his 50s.
He’s definitely not a sympathetic character, but that last paragraph (see below) does give insight into the depth of his feelings for Hadley and his acknowledgement of her hurt. I guess he contacted her late in his life – a few weeks before his suicide. It’s hard to see much of Hadley in this book (so far… I haven’t read ahead!) but I guess I keep in my mind other accounts of their relationship.
Hadley and I had become too confident in each other and careless in our confidence and pride. In the mechanics of how this was penetrated I have never tried to apportion the blame, except my own part, and that was clearer all my life. The bulldozing of three people’s hearts to destroy one happiness and build another and the love and the good work and all that came out of it is not part of this book. I wrote it and left it out. How it all ended, finally, has nothing to do with this either. Any blame in that was mine to take and possess and understand. The only one, Hadley, who had no possible blame, ever, came out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came out of that year.
Off to read!
- Book Reviews: The Paris Wife, A Moveable Feast (jackieregales.com)
- A Moveable Feast :: Week One (unputdownables.net)
- A Moveable Feast :: Week Two (unputdownables.net)
One thought on “Books: A Moveable Feast”
I do love that last paragraph you included. Much has been written about Hadley, and it makes me wonder how his last wife took all this. I’ve seen much said about Hadley being the only one he loved, but I still think it’s too simplistic.