Customer Reviews for

A Moveable Feast

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

35 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

A Truly Timeless Treasure!

Whenever friends ask me why, at my age, I still love Hemingway, I smile and think about this book. They say 'Hemingway' and conjure up familiar visions of the older, bloated and blighted boozer bragging about his macho accomplishments in the world of war and sports, whi...
Whenever friends ask me why, at my age, I still love Hemingway, I smile and think about this book. They say 'Hemingway' and conjure up familiar visions of the older, bloated and blighted boozer bragging about his macho accomplishments in the world of war and sports, while I consider the young Hemingway in Paris. I am thinking of a much younger, intellectually virile man, someone far more alert, aware and alive; Hemingway as a 'moveable feast' strolling deliberately through the streets of a rain-swept Paris on a quiet Monday morning, heading to a café for some café au lait to begin his long day's labor. In this single, slim tome Hemingway beautifully and unforgettably evokes a world of beauty and innocence now so utterly lost and irretrievable both to himself, through his fame, alcohol, and dissipation, but also to us, for Paris as she was in the 1920s was a place made to order for the lyrical descriptive songs he sings about her in this remembrance; endlessly interesting, instantly unforgettable, and also accessible to the original 'starving young artist types' so well depicted here. As anyone visiting Paris today knows, that magical time and place has utterly vanished. Tragically, Paris is just another city these days. Yet this is a book that unforgettably captures the essence of what the word 'romance' means, and does so in the spare and laconic style that Hemingway developed while sitting in the bistros and watching as the world in all its colors and hues flowed by him. The stories he tells are filled with the kinds of people one usually meets only in novels, yet because of who they were and who they later became in the world of arts and letters, it is hard to doubt the veracity or honesty he uses to such advantage here. This is a portrait of an artist in full possession of his creative powers, full of the vinegary spirit and insight that made him a legend in his own time, and consequently ruined him as an artist and as a human being. There are few books I would endorse for everyone as a lifelong friend. This, however, is a book I can recommend for anyone who wants the reading enjoyment and intellectual experience Hemingway offers in such wonderful abundance in these pages. Take my advice, though. Buy it first in paper, read it until it begins to fray and fall apart (and you will), and then go out and buy yourself a new hardcover edition to adorn your shelf, so on that proverbial rainy afternoon when the house is quiet, the kids are gone, and you just want to escape from the ordinary ennui and humdrum of life, pull 'A Moveable Feast' down and hold it close enough to read. A cup of steaming tea by your side, return all by yourself to a marvelous world of blue city skyscapes, freshly washed cobblestone and unforgettable romance; return once more to Paris in the twenties, when life was simple, basic, and good.

posted by Anonymous on March 19, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

14 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Read the Op-Ed before buying this version

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/opinion/20hotchner.html?_r=5&ref=opinion Consider doing some more research on this issue, and decide for yourself.

posted by my-bn-reviews on July 20, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2003

    A Truly Timeless Treasure!

    Whenever friends ask me why, at my age, I still love Hemingway, I smile and think about this book. They say 'Hemingway' and conjure up familiar visions of the older, bloated and blighted boozer bragging about his macho accomplishments in the world of war and sports, while I consider the young Hemingway in Paris. I am thinking of a much younger, intellectually virile man, someone far more alert, aware and alive; Hemingway as a 'moveable feast' strolling deliberately through the streets of a rain-swept Paris on a quiet Monday morning, heading to a café for some café au lait to begin his long day's labor. In this single, slim tome Hemingway beautifully and unforgettably evokes a world of beauty and innocence now so utterly lost and irretrievable both to himself, through his fame, alcohol, and dissipation, but also to us, for Paris as she was in the 1920s was a place made to order for the lyrical descriptive songs he sings about her in this remembrance; endlessly interesting, instantly unforgettable, and also accessible to the original 'starving young artist types' so well depicted here. As anyone visiting Paris today knows, that magical time and place has utterly vanished. Tragically, Paris is just another city these days. Yet this is a book that unforgettably captures the essence of what the word 'romance' means, and does so in the spare and laconic style that Hemingway developed while sitting in the bistros and watching as the world in all its colors and hues flowed by him. The stories he tells are filled with the kinds of people one usually meets only in novels, yet because of who they were and who they later became in the world of arts and letters, it is hard to doubt the veracity or honesty he uses to such advantage here. This is a portrait of an artist in full possession of his creative powers, full of the vinegary spirit and insight that made him a legend in his own time, and consequently ruined him as an artist and as a human being. There are few books I would endorse for everyone as a lifelong friend. This, however, is a book I can recommend for anyone who wants the reading enjoyment and intellectual experience Hemingway offers in such wonderful abundance in these pages. Take my advice, though. Buy it first in paper, read it until it begins to fray and fall apart (and you will), and then go out and buy yourself a new hardcover edition to adorn your shelf, so on that proverbial rainy afternoon when the house is quiet, the kids are gone, and you just want to escape from the ordinary ennui and humdrum of life, pull 'A Moveable Feast' down and hold it close enough to read. A cup of steaming tea by your side, return all by yourself to a marvelous world of blue city skyscapes, freshly washed cobblestone and unforgettable romance; return once more to Paris in the twenties, when life was simple, basic, and good.

    35 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2009

    Read the Op-Ed before buying this version

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/opinion/20hotchner.html?_r=5&ref=opinion

    Consider doing some more research on this issue, and decide for yourself.

    14 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Meet the genuine young Hemingway in Paris

    How could I deign to rate a young master in the making? This is an amazingly open and detailed memoir of Ernest Hemingway's life in Paris during the 1920s. You see him grow as a writer, establishing his now famous writing style, in the company of rising writers, artists and other denizens of Paris. Reading this book is something like reading a locked diary; nothing is withheld. It is a window into a period of time in Paris that has its own fame and reputation. He takes you to salons and to slums, from his first wife and son to his second wife, and introduces you along the way, with great frankness, to his friends. The addenda of chapters omitted by editors of the first edition, published posthumously, makes this volume of greater interest. Read and enjoy. This is a keeper.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008

    Every Man, Every Woman

    How valuable and personal that Hemingway shares this tender, fleeting time of his life. These seemingly metaphoric incidents are every person's youth and innocence. I loved it. I've never been to Paris in a physical sense, but these stories have taken me there in a rich and deep way.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    A sumptuous treat- from the aesthetically pleasing presentation

    A sumptuous treat- from the aesthetically pleasing presentation to the lovely stories inside. The restored use of the second person reinforces the idea and the lovely feeling of Hemingway personally relating the details of wonderful places and people in Paris to you- which one may feel was the author's original design in writing his memoir. Hemingway's classic depictions of war are thrilling, but I personally feel that he is at his best when he is relating simple, leisurely events, such as going down to the cafe to pound out a story over a cafe creme, and interacting with complex, artistic, honest, occasionally depraved, but always endearing people like Ford Madox Ford, Scott Fitzgerald, the deathly poet Ernest Welsh, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Joyce, and his first wife Hadley (just to name a few, and there are many more). Here is a portrait of Hemingway in a place and among people that truly made him happy, a portrait that is genuinely and profoundly moving in both its simplicity, its honesty, and its beauty. A great many people have allowed their vision of Hemingway's Paris to be formed by watching Woody Allen's magnificent 'Midnight in Paris', and while it is magnificent, 'A Moveable Feast' conjures up a much more rich and deeply satisfying picture of this charming time and place. Some of the sketches seem somewhat extraneous, but they are a pleasure to read all the same.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Classic Paris!

    Ah early 20th century Paris! Land of cafes and writers. Can you imagine having a drink in a cafe while sitting across the table from Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald while discussing their latest work? A Movable Feast gives you the chance to do just that. Hemingway takes us to glamorous Paris where the writing elite of the time have all descended to fine tune their craft. This book is so awesome. It's sort of a who's who of the cafe culture of Paris during the 1920s, a time period that I'm absolutely in love with.

    This is really my first experience with Hemingway and as far as I know, this is one of his only non-fiction books. Even from this book with his friends and familiars as his focus, you can see why he's still so beloved by readers today.

    Probably my favorite parts of the books were the parts about Hemingway's family and also F. Scott Fitzgerald and his family. This book is rare as it isn't too often that you get to hear first hand information about people that I really admire like this.

    What I can say is that this book definitely whet my appetite to read more Hemingway.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    Interesting insights from an amazing author

    If you are a fan of the authors of the expat movement you'll love this memoir. Hemingway exposes literary figures like Stein, and Ford Madox Ford as real people and not as literary icons. All of the style and subtle humor you expect from Hemingway is present also. Overall a wonderful quick read from an American literary icon.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2007

    A wonderful work of remembrance, youth and love

    This memoir is enjoyable in very profound ways. Hemingway's youth is one to be admired, despite how we feel about the pain of his later years. One can feel the nostalgia of an older writer looking back on a perfect time in his life, but in typical Hemingway fashion, not 'see' it in the book. Reading it is like eavesdropping on some of the most profound literary icons of the twentieth century, and the Parisian culture they shared. The book is very fine--immediate and impressionable.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2004

    more touching than you though Hem could be

    i've spent most of my literary life thinking that Hemingway was an awesomely talented masogynist with a penchant for booze. this novel proved to me that there was more to him than his celebrity persona. this is a definite must for anyone who has ever seriously thought of becoming a writer or for anyone who has ever seriously thought of becoming a reader. hemingway writes as much about the craft and nurturing talent as he does about anything else. his observations and recollections of times spent with other well-known 20th century writers is not only entertaining, but engaging. he offers his reader something that feels like very private moments with some of the century's best writers and thinkers, most namely Scott Fitzgerald. most surprising is his tender memories of his ex-wife, hadley, and the lovely times they spent traveling in europe or just plain relaxing by the waters in france. this is a really lovely book and a definite must-read for anyone who loves hemingway, good storytelling, and 20th century american writers.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Buy it! Treasure it!

    Thank Goodness for these bright grandchildren! The story with the added truth of his marriage and moving onto the next and then the tales of Fitzgerald all tie in with this new version. The more beautiful foreshadowing I have ever read are the last 6-8 pages --- so beautiful,they made me cry and I intend to read them again and again....

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommend

    This little gem sat on my shelf for many years waiting for me to discover what Hemingway meant when he wrote, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” And he does in A MOVEABLE FEAST. Written in 1957 and worked upon in the winter of 1958-59, the Master finally finished his revisions to this memoir of his early Paris years when he and Hadley were “very poor and very happy.” Before Ernest became the legendary “Papa Hemingway.”

    He teases us readers that he has left out many places, people, observations and impressions. “If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.” He clearly wanted to keep some secrets; after all it was his remembrances of his early life before scandal, divorce, THE SUN ALSO RISES. But Hemingway also wanted to clarify some things he felt were unjustly attributed to him.

    Hemingway’s break from Gertrude Stein is one such thing. I believe that he saw in her a female version of himself as writer. He disapproved of her sexuality, but admired her intellect. He saw that Stein demanded from her friends an absolute support and devotion that left no room for disagreement that she interpreted as disapproval. Ernest Hemingway, even then demanded that from everyone who was close to him. It was painful to read the sketch he chose to include as he remembered the last time he was in her Parisian apartment. And I agree with Hemingway that all generations are lost until they are called to live and do the things that are required of their particular generation.

    I also think he was fond of F. Scot Fitzgerald. I didn’t think the sketches of this talented genius were acidic. The description of the butterfly is apropos of Fitzgerald. He was talented and a drunkard, chained to a vile but insane Zelda. In Hemingway’s mind Scot didn’t fulfill his genius. If one is a writer, one must write. Fitzgerald couldn’t escape Zelda, and Hemingway couldn’t understand Scot’s self-destruction until probably later when he couldn’t write that true sentence after he received those shock treatments while in the Mayo Clinic weeks before Hemingway committed suicide, the ultimate act of self destruction. But I’m glad this small memoir was published in 1964 posthumously, because “Papa Hemingway” needed an audience for his writing and we get honest, yet beautiful prose that will never be replicated.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    Just ok

    If I had not just read The Paris Wife, this book would have been difficult to follow. Hemingway spends a lot of time explaining routes he too jot and from different places. (Who really cares?) Also, there is no particular order to this book. Hemingway just jumps from one memory to another.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Classic Hemingway

    This is classic Hemingway at his best. The prose is crisp and clean without the ponderous multitude of adjectives that make up so much of popular literature now. Once you get into the rhythm of his sentence structure, you can become totally lost in his story. The best way to enjoy his work, I believe, is to read it aloud, whether to yourself or to others. This story took me back to the days of my junior year in Paris. I even got out a street map and searched for all the locations mentioned in the book. A great read for all time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable

    When I bought this book I actually had no idea that it was about Hemingway's life while living in Paris. I am going to Paris next month and this book was suggested to get a bit of history. I will try to visit some of the places like Shakespeare & Co. and Cafe Deux Magots.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Refreshing Book

    Wonderful book! I found myself rereading paragraphs. A knowledge of Paris is a bonus but not a requirement for the reader.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2009

    C'est la vie!

    It is wonderful how Hemingway brings you into his world his friends and everyday activities. It is great how you get his perspective on the artist and writer that you study.You get what they are like first hand from a person who new them personally.It also really makes you want to go to Paris, but then again doesn't everything?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2006

    perfect paris

    This was an excellent look into the young hemmingway. Anyone who loves reading and writing and especially those who love the ambiance of a writer in a foreign country will love this. It is a beautiful insight to the writers in paris during the 1920's.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2002

    a literary feast

    A Moveable Feast is a short book that glances over Hemingway's years in Paris. I don't know that you could call this much of a memoir, it doesn't go into great detail, and just sort of skims over his years in Paris. It was definitely written by an older Hemingway, one who was full of himself and bitterness. The style of writing seems different. This isn't the Hemingway I know from his short stories. The narration seems almost child-like, and definitely not written as well as his short stories. But don't let me make you think I didn't enjoy this book. Hemingway is still the greatest and A Moveable Feast was a wonderful book to read, if only for his portrait of Scott Fitzgerald. And there is a lot more humor used here than in his short stories. This book didn't break into my list of favorites, but it came close. (As a sidenote, if you enjoyed reading this, or want more like it, pick up Scott Berg's biography of Maxwell Perkins, _Max Perkins: Editor of Genius_, who was Hemingway's and Fitzgerald's editor at Scribner's.)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2000

    An Exceptional Hemingway Work

    The prose of this book is undoubtedly the most beautiful I have ever read. You can just about rip any sentence out of this beautiful book and find it to be masterfully created. Why? Because as Hemingway states in the book, 'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.' The book itself covers many of the people, places, and events that found themselves in some way involved in Hemingway's life from the early to mid 1920s. A Moveable Feast provides excellent insight into the mind of the century's most influential writer. It's absolutely brilliant.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2014

    Fun to the last page

    Great quick read - fun to the end. Full of wonderful references to the great literary people of the times. Reminded me why I loved his books as a teenager. Prompted me to read more about not only Hemingway but the other writers of the time.

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