Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a shy 28-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness when she meets Ernest Hemingway and is captivated by his energy, intensity and burning ambition to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for France. But glamorous Jazz Age Paris, full of artists and writers, fuelled by alcohol and gossip, is no place for family life and fidelity.
Ernest and Hadley's marriage begins to founder, and the birth of a beloved son serves only to drive them further apart. Then, at last, Ernest's ferocious literary endeavours begin to bring him recognition - not least from a woman intent on making him her own....
©2011 Paula McLain (P)2011 Random House Inc
"I read it in two days, laughing and crying. What a heartbreaker . . . It has all the ingredients of a literary heart-thumper: sex, love, ambition, betrayal, impossibility and regret . . . McLain has given the voice, mind, pen and strength to a woman. Hadley is an intelligent, strong, adult woman in a deeply unsympathetic situation - glittering, but toxic and ultimately very undermining. It's a very haunting combination." (Bidisha)
This is a lovely book. It manages to feel exactly like a real autobiography, being told in the first person from the Paris Wife's perspective, although it is in fact a novel. The insights into the artistic mind - ruthless, arrogant, driven, slightly mad - of Hemmingway are very well drawn. Was she a 'doormat', or a muse, or the person who made his career possible? All three, probably. Did he love, use or abuse her? Again, all three, I felt.
I am loving this book, it is a fascinating insight into the literary world of the 1920s. It has inspired me to read mpore of the novels of the authors who inhabit Hadley's world. At first I thought that the voice of the narrator would irritate but she did an excellent job. Great read.
I have to admit it took me a while to get into this book. I listened to the first couple of chapters and gave up as I thought it was boring and I just could'nt get in to it. I went back to it after a month and then I got in to it. It's okay not great. The narrator sounds like the actress Candice Bergin I could imagine to some people her voice could be annoying but I was okay with it.
This has my 5 stars largely thanks to the superb narration, I loved the range of voices that Carrington MacDuffie brings to the dialogue, quite a range of characters, both male and female, and all of them felt right, many of them captivating, particularly Zelda Fitzgerald, 'Duff' and rather unexpectedly, Papa himself.
Very long winded and highly repetitious, this reads more like a biograph. If you want to know about Paris in the twenties, read George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London" - which is fun...!! Yhis is really about a group of self referential egoists living out their cliquey ambitions, I am sorry but it was dull.
I really enjoyed this book it sounded very much like an autobiography until Hemmingways voice was also heard - heady times entertainingly described. I too wished that Hadleigh hadn't appeared to be such a doormat - she certainly suffered for his art! But I daresay it reflected the culture at that time. It inspired me to read Hemmingways memoirs of his time in Paris. The narration was excellent (apart from dodgy irish accent!). On the whole a very enjoyable listen.
This audio book was a wonderful listen, a fantastic snap shot of the relationship between avant-garde France and America in the period between the two wars, and an engaging tale of love and heartbreak. The book is both a real tear jerker and compellingly romantic, yet achieves this without compromising any quality of writing.
The only downside to the book is that the main female appeared somewhat weak in character considering the plot of the story, but this is not a comment on the writing as such, which I felt was wonderful, more that I would have liked her to have just a little more fight.
All in all a good listen and strongly recommended.
I loved this book, one of my all time favourites, the 1920s impeccably brought to life by the beautiful narration of Carrington MacDuffie, I felt she really was 'The Paris Wife'.
"yearning for a love that can last a lifetime"
This novel which interprets Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, is read with a measured calm voice of Carrington MacDuffie. Her presentation allows deep emotions to flow through the words.
The Paris Wife is an almost understated description of events, mainly in Hadley’s voice with perfectly inserted third person commentaries. Two people partner through important stages in the development of their life paths and at the same time their care for each other allows them to start dealing with traumatic events of their youth.
So it is almost inevitable that the power and passion of their relationship has an end point because it really was about finding the paths to personal fulfilment rather than a whole of life journey. However, their story also evokes a yearning for the couple finding in their existence together a love that could last a lifetime. Ultimately this is about accepting the journeys within life and love that still leaves a yearning regret for things that flower and bloom and then fade and die.
I admired Hadley’s ability to be so objective about complex events – which take place in exotic and dynamic locations.
And she delights in what was good and true and fine (recurring words). There is also an appreciation of the unusual attributes of genius, of people who contribute so greatly, as he did, to the cultural interpretation of our life. Hadley lovingly and devotedly draws Hemingway into the social norms of love and parenthood and companionship – deep affection. But ultimately Hemingway is not compatible with these norms – through his family legacies and the experience of war -- and sheer genius.
This book me to reread some of Hemingway's work and of course I did a google search on what eventually happened to the various characters.
This is a very rewarding listen.
Yes may be I would because it was read brilliantly
I wouldn't compare it to any book. But it was a lovely experience just to listen.
No I haven't.
The Good Wife or Broken Bliss.
Really enjoyed listening to the book and sympathised with the wife. Was sorry that it was a sad ending. But the wife did try her best to cope with moods and flings of Hemingway as best as she could.
"Really enjoyed this book!"
I found the story fascinating, and it felt like Hadley Hemingway was telling you her story directly to you.
Hadley Hemingway - her honesty and frank telling of her story of the time with Ernest.
No, just looked forward to listening to the story!
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