Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

This wonderful novel which has as its focus Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley Richardson is a winner on every level.
Smart, sassy, rich and colourful, there is not a moments boredom on any page.
Set in Paris in the 1920s the book is so deeply layered that you can smell the grittiness, touch the reality and find yourself beguiled by the magic of characters vast, talented, gifted and shallow, no one who walked through the pages of this book came away with their innocence intact. We see through the eye of Hadley Richardson the rise of Hemingway and the development of his great gifts, equally we see the darker side, the less delightful aspects of his character that have been evidenced in later generations of Hemingway's. With Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and the Fitzgerald's playing pivotal cameos, the nightclubs and the Jazz age, this is a book that envelopes you in its warmth, it hums, it vibrates and you know that sooner or later everything that Ernest and Hadley have binding them together is going to fall away in an unavoidable loss of true love, a love that left Hemingway by far a better writer for having had it, while a lesser man for losing it.
I am not a huge Hemingway fan but I have read a number of books about Hemingway and his various wives and this is by far the best. Those that love Hemingway the writer have a lot to thank Hadley Richardson for.
This book will be out in N.Z. soon, its well worth buying.

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