Oct 23

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

By Paula McLain

The Paris Wife is written as a novel but tells the true story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage. The author says that she was at great pains to make it as accurate as possible. It is well written, as far as the actual prose is concerned and is a fairly easy read.

However I was rather disappointed in the storytelling. I was looking forward to reading about the period and the flamboyant characters involved in their story and found it rather bland. Hadley, the wife, is a rather insipid character, content to live in the shadow of her husband and to meet his expectations, mainly that everything must be sacrificed to his writing.

The whole book lacked passion for me. How can you people a book with literary giants such as Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude Stein in the post WW1 atmosphere of the artist’s quarter in Paris and it lack fire?

I expected much more entertainment value and colour.

Sue Almond


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