Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2016
After reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, author, Paula McLain, was inspired to write about Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. She did extensive research for this novel. Although this is a work of fiction, it is
historical in nature and closely parallels real events.
This fascinating story is one of love and betrayal. Written primarily from the point of view of Hadley, the text is also interspersed with brief sections that are meant to reveal Hemingway’s perspective.
The couple was married only six years, 1921-1926, and Hemingway went on to marry three others in succession. Yet, Hemingway held Hadley as the dearest and was said to have wished that he had remained with her always. The Sun Also Rises is dedicated to Hadley and their son.
At age twenty, Hemingway married Hadley Richardson who was eight years his senior. Hadley, painfully shy, had been living a rather secluded life at the home of her sister and her sister's husband. When Ernest and Hadley married, they moved promptly to Paris and Hadley’s life changed dramatically. Many artists and writers were living in Paris and the couple mingled among them. They met Picasso, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others. Liquor flowed freely. Marital affairs were common.
Hemingway had started out as a newspaper reporter and struggled to find a niche with his novels and short stories. With fame, he thought nothing of stepping on those who had helped him get recognition. He began to covet other women who were attracted to the handsome, exciting new writer.
Hemingway is considered one of the greatest American writers. He is often said to be the twentieth century’s most influential writer. Hemingway’s brilliance was tarnished by his selfishness and his lack of feeling for those he trampled. Paula McLain writes adeptly about his character as well as Hadley’s love for Hemingway and her deep hurt. I found this book so very well written and poignant. Hadley’s predicament was movingly portrayed. I found myself intimately pulled into her psyche.
Hadley loved Ernest and was loyal to him until she could not longer feel her own self-worth. It was good to read that after she left Hemingway she found a long lasting love with the journalist Paul Mower.
I highly recommend this book.