Review: A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway wrote this short collection of vignettes during the very last years of his life. And because of that, they are the mature reflections of a great writer looking back at the beginning of his career as a young, married man living in Paris in the 1920s. What interests most people today are Hemingway’s memories of other authors he knew (and he knew them all), but in particular F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though Hemingway greatly admired Fitzgerald’s books, especially The Great Gatsby, his stories about the man and his insecurities are cringe-worthy. And though written many years later, he doesn’t have a bad word to say about Ezra Pound, despite the latter’s later support for Mussolini and Hitler. (Hemingway’s own anti-fascist credentials are, of course, rock-solid.). The book is also important for its description of how Hemingway wrote, especially his now famous injunction to writers to leave the last sentence of the day for the next day, so he would have somewhere to start and not a blank page. As Hemingway explained, every young person should spend some time in Paris — this one did — and his or her experience there, like this book, will stay with them their entire life.