A Moveable Feast

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast

Parisians have turned to a book in droves following the terrorist attacks. Hemingway’s Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast, has become a best seller, the most popular book in France at this time.

According to the Guardian (11/20/15) the book is No 1 on Amazon’s French site, booksellers are running out of copies and, to meet the demand, the publisher continues to print thousands of new copies.

Hemingway takes you right into the mood of being in Paris, a Paris that Parisians hope to recapture in reading the book. He goes to the cafes--sometimes to write, or to talk, at other times to hide, and then to eat or drink.

Hemingway writes about the craft of writing and how he did it and how to do it better. “Up in that room I decided I would write one story about each thing I knew about.”

Currently there is an exhibition of Hemingway’s letters, photographs, films, and corrected proofs of his books at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York—Ernest Hemingway—Between Two Wars.

In a letter to his father he tries to explain what he was trying to do. “You see I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across—not to just depict life—or criticize it—but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can’t do that without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful.”

A Moveable Feast was written toward the end of his life and published posthumously in 1964, long after his youthful days in Paris. In it he traces the writers he knew there, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, each of whom took an interest in his work and responded with encouragement and appraisal.

Alison Flood, the author of the Guardian article notes that the book is published in French as Paris est une fete (Paris is a Celebration.)
She says it has struck a “chord with the mood of defiance in the wake of the attacks. This has seen Parisians drinking and eating in restaurants, cafes and bars…and posting about it under the slogan “Je suis en terrasse: on social media.”

"There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were nor how it was changed nor with what difficulties nor what ease it could be reached. It was always worth it and we received a return for whatever we brought to it."