01 April 2012

Our Love Lies in Paris

The Paris WifeBook # 13

Finally, finally, FINALLY finished Paula McLain's The Paris Wife. It's a historical fiction about Ernest Hemingway's first marriage. Although many facts are true, McLain adds her own perspective on their relationship which creates a very insightful look into the life of Ernest Hemingway.

Although I am not a particular Hemingway fan, I was intrigued by his writing process and how his pieces came about. I learned about what kind of a writer he was and how he was influenced by the people and the places around him. I've always been fascinated with processes, how and what a person does to get from point A to point B. In fact, I believe that the process is more important than the final product itself.

Now, back to the book. The book is narrated (mostly) by Hadley Richardson, first at 28 years old when she first meets Ernest. She falls in love with him instantaneously and after marriage, they move to Paris where they discover a fast-moving world that doesn't value traditional notions of family and monogamy. Ernest struggles to make a name for himself, eventually producing The Sun Also Rises. Soon enough, Ernest falls victim to the unconventional woes of Paris and takes on a mistress who earns his affection and is also Hadley's friend. But in the end, and 3 wives later, Hemingway finally admits that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

I recommend this book to those of you interested in the process. I found myself favoring those parts of the novel more so than the parts regarding the Hemingway relationship. Of course, their relationship is beautifully transmitted, but I must have become so wrapped up in Hermingway's process of living that I didn't really care in the end. Even so, it's quite interesting to follow Hadley's side of the story, to know what she feels and what she wants to feel. The reader can feel the ebb and flow of their relationship, especially the ebbs. In the end, you feel a rush of sadness when Ernest and Hadley's relationship finally comes to a complete stop and you can't help but wonder what he was thinking when he did the deed. All in all, it's a good story, and I recommend it to all who enjoy a love story, but more importantly, the process of falling in and out of love.

Until next time,

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