July 28, 2012

The Paris Wife
Paula McLain

Bonsoir -- To love this book, you probably don't have to be enamored with the ex-pat writers of the 1920s who swarmed Paris; but, it wouldn't hurt. Here's Hadley and Hemingway -- and Stein and Toklas, Pound, bullfighting in Spain, the valise filled with Papa's early manuscripts lost in Gare de Lyon, and Pauline, of course, and the Murphys and, eventually, Scott and Zelda, who just about steal the show on these pages as it seems they so often did in real life. I bow to McLain for even attempting this novel and admire how she tells a fairly breezy tale. My only quibble is that every dish in this moveable feast seems cooked at the same temperature: no scene or development seems particularly more dramatic than another. That might be a consequence of revisiting some well-known stories and adhering as best as possible to the truth. Or it might reflect the emotional residue of a truly lost generation.


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