The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

A Novel

Book - 2011
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An instant national bestseller, this stunningly evocative, beautifully rendered story told in the voice of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, has the same power and historical richness that made Loving Frank a bestseller.

No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Hemingway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view - that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."
ISBN: 9780385669221
Characteristics: xii, 320 pages ;,25 cm.


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Nov 06, 2017

The author’s rich storytelling successfully brings out the emotional complexity of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, told from the perspective of his wife, Hadley. She sympathetically and honestly portrays both characters in a way that helps us understand why it was a challenge to have a solid marriage, and paints a vivid picture of those heady, chaotic times in Paris 1920s with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B.Toklas, Ezra Pound and his harem, and others with similar drunken, rebellious-artist attitudes of the day.

At times I wanted to judge Hadley as a doormat from my 21st century perspective, for her chosen role as supporter of Ernest’s self-absorbed writing career and the denial of her own sense of self (even when *the mistress* entered the scene). But I think the reader needs to see this in the context of their trying-to-be-outrageous circle of friends in 1920s Paris, full of love triangles.

I was reminded how some things don’t change, how many people still keep up appearances pretending how perfectly good life is regardless of life’s messes. McLain uses a very apt metaphor tied in with the bike riding activity of Hadley, Ernest and his lover, Pauline (I’ve condensed it): "Three bicycles stood on their stands. If you looked at them one way they looked very solid, like sculpture with afternoon light glinting off the chrome handlebars. If you looked another way, you could see how thin each kickstand was under the weight of the heavy frame, and how they were poised to fall like dominoes or skeletons of elephants or like love itself."

Mar 15, 2017

It was kind of slow at times. Had to make myself continue reading it at times. But I'm glad I did finish it. I suggest reading it BEFORE A Moveable Feast because the Moveable Feast was easier to understand already knowing the history of the characters. Hemingway must have been quite a guy! Seems that suicide was sort of a trait in that family. Grandaughter Margaux Hemingway for one. I will read several of his other books too. Also, FS Fitz and Tomas Wolfe. the movie GENIUS with Colin Firth and Jude Law. I enjoyed it so much. I recommend it because it really helps you understand all those authors. Jude Law portraying Thomas Wolf working with Colin Firth's Max Perkins (who published Wolf's and other's books) was very very good. Tells you the story of those men and their friendships. It's part of history
learning about those families. I also wanted to say that I'm going to rent the Paris Wife again simply because I want to re read the final letter that Hadley sent to Hem about their divorce. It was so generous and unselfish of her. I have to read it again, it was a beautiiiiful letter the way she worded it. CASmith

PinesandPrejudice Nov 01, 2016

I enjoyed the writing style as well as the in depth look at Paris during this time. However, I did not have a lot of sympathy for the characters and the structure of the book bothered me. I wish there was more to it, more story more depth. But you knew how this story ended, she tells you in the beginning if you didn't know the history. So I thought there would be some new discovery, something interesting to explore but there wasn't. It's just the sad story of a failed marriage.

AL_TATYANA Oct 18, 2016

What a remarkable time: Jazz age in Paris: so many iconic names. Also the time when traditional family principles were not valued. How will Hemingway and his wife Hadley fit into it?
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty.
Good read!

Sep 23, 2016

These lives are so well documented that one wonders what this book adds to one's understanding of these people and their times. Why celebrate how men treated women and women treated women? Their actions were not grounded in any beliefs about living differently but only in their personal concerns. The book is quite readable, but the dialogue is sometimes awkward.

Sep 17, 2016

An engaging and tenderhearted story written from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley. Parallels the book A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. To partake of the entire feast read both books. It doesn't matter which you read first.

AL_ALICIA Aug 09, 2016

McLain breathed new life into 1920's literary icons for me through the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, trying to find her place in an unpredictable world. The portrayal of their deep love for one another and tumultuous relationship, kept me engaged to the very last page. I was so interested in the characters, I immediately picked up "A Moveable Feast" to discover more from Hemingway's perspective.

Nov 12, 2015

Despite its fictional theme, this book portrays love life of Ernest Hemingway with Hadley and how it changed. I was fascinated with all the artist's characters and their social life in 19th century Paris. I really enjoyed this book and felt that I know more about Ernest Hemingway life and his writing.

Oct 18, 2015

ernest hemmingway's wife

Sep 18, 2015

A nice book that took you back in time to Paris and their lives back then. I enjoyed it as I learnt more about a famous writer and his life and time travelled back to another time.

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michlmac Feb 07, 2012

michlmac thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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