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A Moveable Feast - Book Review

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published October 14th 2012
Hemingway's Feast to Leave You Starving
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway

Published posthumously, Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast is a memoir recounting his time spent writing in the cafés of in Paris during the 1920s. Though ultimately succeeding in finding that 'one true sentence' the book inevitably fails to engage readers.

His truthful style leads to flat and unimaginative dialogue. Tedious at an early stage and often creating a gagging reflex, such as when you hear Hadley say 'and we'll never love anyone else but each other.'

A Moveable Feast separates into a mundane series of events that lack any build up to a conclusion. The Hemingway style is one that is difficult to grow accustomed to. Short, objective sentences such as 'then he threw it at me', a lack of emotive involvement, plus an agonisingly repetitive use of 'and' create a strange division of description. Even active scenes, such as when Hemmingway is being attacked appear, relatively sedate when compared to Mitch Albom's memoir Tuesdays With Morrie. His scenes, involving a man suffering from, a degenerative disease, are more exciting simply due to the emotional involvement.

However deficient Hemmingway is at including his own personal sentiment, the impression we receive about him is clearly defined in his anecdotes about other people.

There's his admiration for Miss Stein's warped views on homoerotic sexuality and the humorous account of his love/hate relationship with Scott Fitzgerald in the man's moments of drunken hypochondria and fear of impotence.

While one can appreciate the struggle involved in writing that 'one true sentence', most people will lose patience with his detached approach to life, family, and the memoir itself. Unless you are a fan of Hemingway's previous work, this book will leave you feeling as empty as his words.
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Your Comment
Yes, but as a handbook on how to write it is a brilliant book.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6089) 3340 days ago
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