The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

A Novel

Book - 2011 | 1st ed.
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May 15, 2019

Wow-felt like I was right there with the couple wherever their destinations were-and there were many. I really liked & admired Hadley as a person.

Feb 24, 2019

Good if you like historical fiction

Jan 18, 2019

...meh... kinda boring and tedious unless maybe one is a huge Hemingway fan...of his life, that is. I think I dozed off somewhere in Paris in a street cafe...

Jul 16, 2018

Paula McLain does an incredible job bringing to life Paris of the 1920s and the Lost Generation. McLain shines a light into Hadley and Ernest Hemmingway’s unique private world. Their relationship, and life in Paris was filled with famous expats and artists, poverty, loneliness, love, ambition, and adventure. Their loyalty, youth, and naivety are heartbreaking as their simple lives become increasingly complex and tumultuous. Hadley’s love of everything that makes Ernest who he is, is exactly what makes this story so wonderfully tragic. I highly recommend this read, as it is insightful, enriching, and emotional.

Apr 19, 2018

Hadley and Ernest Hemingway come alive in this novel - young and in love and in Paris. Beautifully written this novel captures the times of Paris back then and the main characters' lives in the City of Light. Highly recommend.

Nov 06, 2017

The author’s rich storytelling successfully brings out the emotional complexity of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, told from the perspective of his wife, Hadley. She sympathetically and honestly portrays both characters in a way that helps us understand why it was a challenge to have a solid marriage, and paints a vivid picture of those heady, chaotic times in Paris 1920s with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Alice B.Toklas, Ezra Pound and his harem, and others with similar drunken, rebellious-artist attitudes of the day.

At times I wanted to judge Hadley as a doormat from my 21st century perspective, for her chosen role as supporter of Ernest’s self-absorbed writing career and the denial of her own sense of self (even when *the mistress* entered the scene). But I think the reader needs to see this in the context of their trying-to-be-outrageous circle of friends in 1920s Paris, full of love triangles.

I was reminded how some things don’t change, how many people still keep up appearances pretending how perfectly good life is regardless of life’s messes. McLain uses a very apt metaphor tied in with the bike riding activity of Hadley, Ernest and his lover, Pauline (I’ve condensed it): "Three bicycles stood on their stands. If you looked at them one way they looked very solid, like sculpture with afternoon light glinting off the chrome handlebars. If you looked another way, you could see how thin each kickstand was under the weight of the heavy frame, and how they were poised to fall like dominoes or skeletons of elephants or like love itself."

Mar 15, 2017

It was kind of slow at times. Had to make myself continue reading it at times. But I'm glad I did finish it. I suggest reading it BEFORE A Moveable Feast because the Moveable Feast was easier to understand already knowing the history of the characters. Hemingway must have been quite a guy! Seems that suicide was sort of a trait in that family. Grandaughter Margaux Hemingway for one. I will read several of his other books too. Also, FS Fitz and Tomas Wolfe. the movie GENIUS with Colin Firth and Jude Law. I enjoyed it so much. I recommend it because it really helps you understand all those authors. Jude Law portraying Thomas Wolf working with Colin Firth's Max Perkins (who published Wolf's and other's books) was very very good. Tells you the story of those men and their friendships. It's part of history
learning about those families. I also wanted to say that I'm going to rent the Paris Wife again simply because I want to re read the final letter that Hadley sent to Hem about their divorce. It was so generous and unselfish of her. I have to read it again, it was a beautiiiiful letter the way she worded it. CASmith

Nov 01, 2016

I enjoyed the writing style as well as the in depth look at Paris during this time. However, I did not have a lot of sympathy for the characters and the structure of the book bothered me. I wish there was more to it, more story more depth. But you knew how this story ended, she tells you in the beginning if you didn't know the history. So I thought there would be some new discovery, something interesting to explore but there wasn't. It's just the sad story of a failed marriage.

ArapahoeTatyana Oct 18, 2016

What a remarkable time: Jazz age in Paris: so many iconic names. Also the time when traditional family principles were not valued. How will Hemingway and his wife Hadley fit into it?
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty.
Good read!

Sep 23, 2016

These lives are so well documented that one wonders what this book adds to one's understanding of these people and their times. Why celebrate how men treated women and women treated women? Their actions were not grounded in any beliefs about living differently but only in their personal concerns. The book is quite readable, but the dialogue is sometimes awkward.

Sep 17, 2016

An engaging and tenderhearted story written from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley. Parallels the book A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. To partake of the entire feast read both books. It doesn't matter which you read first.

ArapahoeAlicia Aug 09, 2016

McLain breathed new life into 1920's literary icons for me through the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, trying to find her place in an unpredictable world. The portrayal of their deep love for one another and tumultuous relationship, kept me engaged to the very last page. I was so interested in the characters, I immediately picked up "A Moveable Feast" to discover more from Hemingway's perspective.

elephant303 Nov 12, 2015

Despite its fictional theme, this book portrays love life of Ernest Hemingway with Hadley and how it changed. I was fascinated with all the artist's characters and their social life in 19th century Paris. I really enjoyed this book and felt that I know more about Ernest Hemingway life and his writing.

Oct 18, 2015

ernest hemmingway's wife

Sep 18, 2015

A nice book that took you back in time to Paris and their lives back then. I enjoyed it as I learnt more about a famous writer and his life and time travelled back to another time.

Jul 15, 2015

This wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't mind-blowing either. I enjoyed the descriptions of the Hemingways' travels. However, I didn't find Hemingway himself or his wife Hadley particularly likeable. Moreover, even though I know this is a work of fiction, I didn't think it had much real insight into the Hemingways and their complicated life. There's nothing in here that I didn't know already; the book is entertaining enough but it doesn't go much beyond the surface.

FW_librarian Jun 19, 2015

Interesting story about Hemingway's first marriage and how he dealt with his personal demons which included guilt and pride. The inserted text-asides describe his fascination with suicide and death and sadly, a lack of personal direction and purpose.

Jun 09, 2015

Hadley Hemingway is referred to as he Paris wife in accounts of Hemingway's life. While I knew this was a work of fiction, I found myself searching online for biographical conformation of the timeline that the book represented; and I was reassured. The only apparent difference was the meeting between Hemingway and Ezra Pound. Paula McLain has done a wonderful job of imagining scenes between the couple and other members of their circle - Gertrude Stein, the Fitzgerald's, etc. The author has given voices to people that are engaging and informative. Her style subtly blends the real and imagined. Paris in the 20s must have been a magical spot. Once I finished the book, I had to reread The Sun Also Rises to see Hemingway's fictionalized account of the trip to Pamplona.

Apr 28, 2015

Read it when it first came out & thought it was pretty good. Then I read the Hadley written by Alice Sokoloff. Who was a friend of Hadley's & wrote her book in the 1973, which was based on their conversations. A lot of this book is verbatim of Alice's but I found no credit was given. The author did say private conversations were
"her" pure guesswork. Skip this book & read Hadley by Alice Sokoloff.

PickyReader Nov 04, 2014

Absorbing and fascinating.

Cynthia_N Oct 22, 2014

Picked this one up to participate in All Pueblo Reads. This is not a book that I would have normally picked up but I was happy to find that I quite enjoyed it. It gave me a taste of wanderlust. After travelling the globe, I will now have to check out a bibliography on Ernest Hemingway, reread some of his book, and see if there is any more information out there on Hadley.

zoegraceli Oct 19, 2014

Not too far in, yet. I really like the narrative voice and have always liked the era.

Aug 29, 2014

Reading this book, I felt I was in the Paris of the 20's, hanging out at the cafes with the writers of the time. The writing is very good and has depth.

Jul 24, 2014

great read-enjoyed the story

Jun 28, 2014

This writer's style seemed effortless. She sets the scence for that era and what it was like. NO spoilers here but getting to know a slice if Hemmingways life before he became famous was so inspiring.

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