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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: Paris Without End by Gioia Diliberto

Title: Paris Without End
Author: Gioia Diliberto
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publish Date: September 6, 2011
Source: I received a copy from the author. This did not affect my review.


Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a Hemingway fan.
  • You like biographies.
  • You're a history nerd.
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the twenties, the center of an expatriate community boasting the likes of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and James and Nora Joyce. In this haunting account of the young Hemingways, Gioia Diliberto explores their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their thrilling, adventurous relationship--a literary love story scarred by Hadley's loss of the only copy of Hemingway's first novel and ultimately destroyed by a devastating mEnage A trois on the French Riviera. 

Compelling, illuminating, poignant, and deeply insightful, "Paris Without End" provides a rare, intimate glimpse of the writer who so fully captured the American imagination and the remarkable woman who inspired his passion and his art--the only woman Hemingway never stopped loving."

My Two Cents:

I really enjoyed this book. Earlier this year, I read Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and was introduced to Hadley Richardson, Hemingway's first wife. A Moveable Feast tells of Ernest, Hadley, and their son (called Bumby) living in Paris as ex-pats. The book was published posthumously and gives a very positive picture of the Hemingways' marriage and time among the literary elite in the salons of Paris.

This book covers Hadley's entire life from growing up in St. Louis to her courtship with a handsome, young Hemingway to marriage and the birth of her son to Hemingway's infidelity to their divorce to the rest of her life. There was so much going on during this time period with regard to women and their role that it was really fascinating to learn more about this women who was right there as her husband wrote some of his great works. Hadley is of course fascinating in her own right and it was very interesting to see where she came from and why she was the way that she was.

The honest truth is had Hadley not married Hemingway, she would probably not have been worthy of study. But she was married to this formidable writer and sometimes we can't reach our whole potential without having a great support system and Hadley was that for Hemingway as Paris Without End shows. She really pushed him to write and to be involved with the literary world. She also inspired some of his works and characters. This isn't to say that Hemingway would not have become a great writer if Hadley hadn't been behind him but it is way more difficult to reach an already difficult goal if you don't have someone supporting you and cheering you on as Hadley did for Ernest.

Diliberto does a great job of pulling the reader into Hadley's story. The book is very accessible and often reads like fiction for those that don't like to venture into non-fiction or biographies very often. Hemingway fans will definitely appreciate this book but even if you aren't really a die hard Hemingway fan, this is still a great biography of one of the women behind one of the most well known and beloved American writers of all time.

Bottom line: History buffs, Hemingway lovers, and biography fans will all find much to love about this book!


12 comments:

  1. This one will be perfect for me. I love reading about Hadley and Ernest's relationship. Thanks for reviewing this one!

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    1. Yes! I definitely want to read The Paris Wife now!

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  2. This sounds like a great follow up to The Paris Wife!

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    1. I still need to read The Paris Wife. So many books, so little time!

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  3. What if I love reading about Paris? Would I like it? Thanks for the review. Here's My First Paragraph Tuesday post

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    1. It doesn't focus so much on Paris. I would suggest reading A Moveable Feast. It's basically Hemingway's love letter to the City of Lights.

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  4. Another one for my TBR! I like non-fiction, but I'm picky about it. I like it to read like a story. Sounds like this one does!

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    1. Yes, this one definitely reads like a story. I loved how novel-like the author was able to make the book!

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  5. "The honest truth is had Hadley not married Hemingway, she would probably not have been worthy of study. But she was married to this formidable writer and sometimes we can't reach our whole potential without having a great support system and Hadley was that for Hemingway as Paris Without End shows..." --> This is a really good point. Really, the entire paragraph makes a great point. Great, great review Meg!

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  6. Have you read The Paris Wife? I haven't read either that or this but I was wondering how they compare. I'm interested in both!

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    1. I have yet to read The Paris Wife. This book definitely made me want to read it even more than I already did!

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