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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife

by Paula McLain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,8603391,544 (3.71)353
Meeting through mutual friends in Chicago, Hadley is intrigued by brash "beautiful boy" Ernest Hemingway, and after a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley makes a convincing transformation from an overprotected child to a game and brave young woman who puts up with impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband's career.… (more)
Recently added bySinofile, rena40, gakgakg, Serrana, 4erin, FlaglerBeachLibrary, private library, szbuhayar

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Showing 1-5 of 331 (next | show all)
I loved this book. Read it in two days (around the edges of 12-hour workdays, nonetheless... could not put it down). I've often wondered what Hemingway might have been like as a person, particularly before he became successful, and this novel wonders the same thing in a fun, engaging, and sad story. The book situates itself in Paris of the 20s, so the whole gang from A Moveable Feast is here, too. ( )
  szbuhayar | May 24, 2020 |
Having watched the movie In Love and War back in the mid 1990's, I came into this book feeling that Hemingway's first real romance had left some sort of emotional toll on him. Now, I'm wondering if it were truly his relationship with Agnes von Kurowsky, his first wife, Hadley, or that he was just a tortured soul. I think most of us have known someone like that at some point in our lives...the people you just cannot help but love and yet, they themselves just cannot seem to make good choices in life. He was wildly creative and fun at best and narcissistic and cruel at worst. I think this quote from the book may sum him up quite well, “He was such an enigma, really - fierce and strong and weak and cruel. An incomparable friend and a son of a bitch. In the end, there wasn't one thing about him that was truer than the rest. It was all true.”

I really enjoyed this book. I both read and audio read it at the same time, depending upon whether I was in the car or had an opportunity to read it on my kindle. The narration on the audio was excellent. Ms. McLain certainly did her research in turning the true accounts of Hemingway's relationship with his first wife into a fictional account. Her prose is a delight to read.

I think the thing about the book which surprised me most was my emotional response during the Epilogue. Just reading about the end of their relationship and their supposed last conversation was completely heartbreaking to me. To imagine how Hadley must have felt upon hearing of his death was an emotional read. Through reading this and further research, it is shocking how suicide seems to have been the unfortunate choice of so many people associated with Hemingway. Among those who chose this path were Hadley's father, Hemingway's father, sister, brother, granddaughter, and his third wife, Martha Gellhorn (though she was 89 and dying of cancer at the time). The mental illness that led them all to this end is the most heartbreaking truth that I discovered from reading this fictional account of Hadley's time as Mrs. Ernest Hemingway.

As I was reading this, I was fascinated with the portrayal of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Just happened to see that there is a new book out titled Z about their marriage from Zelda's perspective so that will be my next read. It will be interesting to see if it will portray all of these individuals and their friends in the same light as they were shown by Ms. McLain. ( )
  Beth_German | Mar 28, 2020 |
Historical Fiction about Ernest Hemingway's first wife
  CarolBurrows | Mar 28, 2020 |
A tad depressing- but interesting and well written. ( )
  nwieme | Mar 19, 2020 |
A very readable and enjoyable book about Ernest Hemmingway and his first wife set in the early 1920s in Paris. The story is told from her perspective and is full of the feelings and struggles they go through as well as some insights into Hemmingway's life. She did lots of research and said it's as accurate as she could make it with access to his personal papers and family history items. Highly recommended. ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 331 (next | show all)
Paula McLain has built “The Paris Wife” around Hadley. Or at least she has planted Hadley in the midst of a lot of famous, ambitious people. The advantage to this technique is that it allows the reader to rub shoulders and bend elbows with celebrated literary types: the stay-at-home way of feeling like the soigné figure on the book cover. The drawback is that Ms. McLain’s Hadley, when not in big-league company that overshadows her, isn’t a subtly drawn character. She’s thick, and not just in physique. She’s slow on the uptake, and she can be a stodgy bore.
Indeed, this book is a more risky affair than its sometimes sugary surface betrays. Taking up the Hemingway story inevitably means comparisons with Papa himself, and McLain courageously draws fire by including interludes written from his perspective: hard-bitten monologues with such lines as "You might as well bring yourself down and make yourself stinking sick with all you do because this is the only world there is." It's not exactly up there with John Cheever's classic parody, but it certainly does the job.

An appealing companion volume to A Moveable Feast, then, but once it's finished, turn back to the original, with its cool, impressionistic prose. It can hardly be said that the least interesting thing about Hemingway is the way he lived his life, but let's not forget that it's his writing that endures.
An imaginative, elegantly written look inside the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Jan 15, 2011)
Colorful details of the expat life in Jazz Age Paris, combined with the evocative story of the Hemingways' romance, result in a compelling story that will undoubtedly establish McLain as a writer of substance. Highly recommended for all readers of popular fiction.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Susanne Wells (Nov 15, 2010)
The Paris Wife, McLain has taken their love story, partially told by Hemingway himself in A Moveable Feast, and fashioned a novel that's impossible to resist. It's all here, and it all feels real...

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paula McLainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dinçer, YaseminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is not what France gave you but what it did not take from you that was important. -Gertrude Stein
There's no one thing that's true. It's all true. -Ernest Hemingway
First words
Though I often looked for one, I finally had to admit that there could be no cure for Paris.
He wanted everything there was to have, and more than that.
We had the best of each other.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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History is sadly neglectful of the supporting players in the lives of great artists. Fortunately, fiction provides ample opportunity to bring these often fascinating personalities out into the limelight. Gaynor Arnold successfully resurrected the much-maligned Mrs. Charles Dickens in Girl in a Blue Dress (2009), now Paula McLain brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. Though doomed, the Hemingway marriage had its giddy high points, including a whirlwind courtship and a few fast and furious years of the expatriate lifestyle in 1920s Paris. Hadley and Ernest traveled in heady company during this gin-soaked and jazz-infused time, and readers are treated to intimate glimpses of many of the literary giants of the era, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. But the real star of the story is Hadley, as this time around, Ernest is firmly relegated to the background as he almost never was during their years together. Though eventually a woman scorned, Hadley is able to acknowledge without rancor or bitterness that "Hem" had "helped me to see what I really was and what I could do." Much more than a "woman-behind-the-man" homage, this beautifully crafted tale is an unsentimental tribute to a woman who acted with grace and strength as her marriage crumbled. amazon com
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