Saturday June 4: Biography Book Review
Review done by Victoria Ceretto-Slotto. Visit her blog: http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com
Wife: A Novel Paris
Author: Paula McClain
About the Author:
Paula McLain, born in
in 1965, raised in foster homes. Overcoming many difficulties, she obtained an MFA in Poetry from the California in 1996. Has received numerous fellowships, including one from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has published two books of poetry, a memoir, and a novel, A Ticket to Ride. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry at University of Michigan New England College, and lives with her family in . Cleveland
Check out this 3-minute Interview with Paula McLain: http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/m1O175XPXRL6C9/ref=ent_fb_link
Publisher: Ballantine Books, a Division of Random House, 2011
Story Summary: The Paris Wife is a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage and early years in 1920's
, as told from the point of view of his wife, Hadley. Though written as fiction, the author did thorough research into the biographies and letters of Hemingway and Hadley Richardson Hemingway, as well as in the author’s novels, to develop the material which became the story of their charmed and devastated marriage in Paris, from 1921-1926. The story is true to details as far as the unfolding of Ernest and Hadley’s years together. What McLain has done is to imbue the characters with emotion and interject dialogue. Therein lies the fiction. Paris
Comments: McLain excels in transporting the reader to a place and time inhabited by modernist artists and authors:
in the 1920’s. You will experience the joie de vivre of this epoch, but also the vacuous quality of the subjects’ lives—marked by alcoholism and rampant infidelity. Paris
Hadley emerges as a romantic, traditional wife and mother in spite of her tumultuous life style with Ernest. It is easy to empathize with her. At the same time you are introduced to the troubled and insecure persona of Ernest. His self doubts about his ability as a writer and his moodiness diminish over the course of the novel as he achieves success. At the same time, his need for affirmation and encouragement that Hadley provided wanes. He then betrays not only Hadley but those who supported his early efforts: Sherwood Anderson and Gertrude Stein among others.
McLain’s ability as a writer is showcased by natural dialogue, crisp descriptions and readability. This novel made me want to read her poetry, memoir and first novel.
My one small critique with the novel was that Ernest and Hadley used multiple nicknames for each other, as well as for acquaintances. At times I got lost trying to figure out who was who, especially when reading dialogue. It took me a while to figure out that the couple shared a nickname: Tatie.
Recommendation: *****—very highly recommended. Especially if you are a fan of Hemingway or a writer who grapples with insecurity, as Hemmingway does.
“Nearly anyone might feel like a painter walking the streets of Paris then because the light brought it out in you, and the shadows alongside the buildings, and the bridges which seemed to want to break your heart…”
“’I want to write one true sentence,” he said. “If I can write one sentence, simple and true, everyday, I’ll be satisfied.”
at http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com Victoria
and I’m happy to bring this review to you.
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