A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

9th July 2013

A few of you told me to read this when I mentioned my affection for The Sun Also Rises. You were right.

As you may have noticed, I’m in Paris right now (I have eaten so much cheese.), so this book is a lovely accompaniment to the trip. I’m hoping to visit the Shakespeare and Company bookshop before I go, it still exists and looks comforting.

There were so many simple, perfect moments in this book. I underlined something on nearly every page about the truths of being a writer, the small pleasures of loving someone, the usually subconscious observations that form our impressions of people around us. Read it, you’ll see what I mean.

Some of the best parts of A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway:

Work could cure almost anything, I believed then and I believe now.

“But she does talk a lot of rot sometimes.”
“I never hear her,” my wife said. “I’m a wife. It’s her friend who talks to me.”

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.

We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.

Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.

Then you would hear someone say, “Hi, Hem. What are you trying to do? Write in a cafe?”
Your luck had run out and you shut the notebook. This was the worst thing that could happen. If you could keep your temper it would be better but I was not good at keeping mine then and said, “You rotten son of a bitch what are you doing in here off your filthy beat?”

She was a difficult woman, over-plump, with brassy hair, and I thanked her.

For a poet, he threw a very accurate milk bottle.

I was getting tired of the literary life, if this was the literary life I was leading, and already I missed not working and I felt the death loneliness that comes at the end of every day that is wasted in your life.

“We’re always lucky,” I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood. There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too.

5 thoughts on “A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  1. Ami

    Oh! I read The Paris Wife and had wanted to follow it up with this, but forgot.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Jennifer

    Ooh!! That book has been on my “to read” list for a while. I am hoping to organize a book club and then have a really good reason to read it and share it with others. Thanks for the excerpts. It’s moved up a couple of notches on my Amazon wish list.

  3. K. Bell

    Um, I hate to bother, but I think Ernest and Hemingway are spelled wrong in the title? Or was that on purpose and I’m not getting it? (Apologies if so.). I read this book in college and loved it. Thanks for posting these quotes … brought back some great memories!

  4. maile

    I bought this a few months ago on the recommendation of a friend. Thanks for reminding me I want to read it. Hope you’re loving Paris. xo

  5. Jenny

    I’ve never been a Hemingway fan, either of him personally or of his writing, but this book changed my mind. It’s just lovely. And of course Paris is a character in it. Good choice.

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