The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain
Genre: Historical Fiction
Themes: 1920's Paris, American Expat, Art Scene, Literature, Love & Marriage
When planning a trip to Paris for the first time, most people would struggle with what to wear. Being the book nerd that I am, however, I struggled with which book to bring along. The Nightingale and Turtles All the Way Down were strong contenders as books I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but I ultimately chose The Paris Wife, which turned out to be the perfect book to read.
I fell in love with Hemingway, then hated him, then fell in love all over again. I loved Hadley, too, and felt heartbroken for her, even as I wanted to shake her for living in Hemingway’s shadow and letting him get away with his betrayal for so long.
I got to know both Hemingway and Hadley as real people, and because I read A Moveable Feast for the first time right before The Paris Wife, I truly felt like I was gaining further insight into their story, like Hadley was telling me her side of things. I tried to understand them and their actions, to make sense of their life together and what it meant about him as a writer, and as a person.
Being in Paris while reading The Paris Wife made both the book and Paris seem more magical. I travelled back in time as I walked the narrow streets of the city, channeling Hemingway as I sought out scenes from his life with Hadley. I was seeing Paris for the first time, and getting a glimpse of theirs too. As a writer and a lover of books and history, my first experience of Paris could not have been more special.
I’m not done with Paris yet. Like Hemingway and Hadley, I will take it with me wherever I go. And their story—romantic and tragic and impossibly human—will go with me too.
I can believe you’re a writer. Whatever that thing is, you have it.
I could have this. It was already mine.
It was like being born over each night, the same process repeated, finding myself, losing myself, finding myself again.
Isn’t love a beautiful goddamn liar?
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
You’re making something new. Don’t forget that when it starts to hurt.
You can talk and talk and not get it right. You have to do it.
5/21/2023 02:59:00 pm
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