A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway is a sometimes nostalgic and affection, and sometimes unkind and cutting portrait of intellectual life in Paris in the 1920s. Although written at the end of Hemingway’s life when he was in a physical and mental decline, he reminiscences create a picture of the author when he was strong and robust, at a time before fame impacted his life.
Their life (Hemingway and his first wife Hadley) was rich, complete with meetings in cafes with literary notables (Ford Madox Ford), Gertrude Stein’s salons, skiing vacations, and manly pursuits like boxing and bullfighting. Three wives and several decades later, Hemingway discusses his first marriage with sentiment and romance. They were poor and sometimes hungry, but Hemingway believed that they could support his writing and gather the experiences he needed by being careful with their money, not caring about clothes and eating plain food. Hadley is portrayed and uncomplaining and utterly supportive of her husband. Together they raised their precocious son Bumby who attempted to keep up with his father intellectually with his combined French and English, and who, as a toddler, was babysat by the cat. The CAT! and this was just fine, thank you very much!
Hemingway also burnt his bridges and had a difficult time maintaining friendships, not surprising with the negative and cutting things he would go on to write about friends like F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford and Gertrude Stein.
A Moveable Feast was published posthumously in 1964 after the author’s suicide in 1961. Different editions have been released over the years and family members have had their input, sometimes removing material that was not flattering to some of his wives.
Morley Callaghan was there as well and wrote his version of events in That Summer in Paris. “It was the fabulous summer of 1929 when the literary capital of North America moved to La Rive Gauche–the Left Bank of the Seine River–in Paris. Ernest Hemingway was reading proofs of “A Farewell to Arms,” and a few blocks away F. Scott Fitzgerald was struggling with “Tender Is the Night.” As his first published book rose to fame in New York, Morley Callaghan arrived in Paris to share the felicities of literary life, not just with his two friends, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, but also with fellow writers James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, and Robert McAlmon. Amidst these tangled relations, some friendships flourished while others failed. This tragic and unforgettable story comes to vivid life in Callaghan’s lucid, compassionate prose.” publisher
This lost generation have gained a second life through fictionalized accounts of their lives.