If what they say is true that behind every great man there’s a great woman then Hadley Richardson is the woman behind Ernest Hemingway. In the novel The Paris Wife, Paula McLain traces their relationship from its frowned-upon beginnings in Chicago to its painful end in Paris six years later, and narrator Carrington MacDuffie brings a cast of historical characters out of the required reading list and brightly to life.
Hemingway was a journalist and aspiring novelist when he met Hadley in 1920, and after they married, they moved together to Paris at the urging of author Sherwood Anderson, who told them it was the place to be for writers. Over the next half-decade except for one brief stint in Toronto after the birth of their son the Hemingways lived, loved, and drank with everyone from James Joyce and Gertrude Stein to Ezra Pound and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (all of whom MacDuffie voices captivatingly). But though their relationship seemed rock-solid to even the closest members of their inner circle, outside forces slowly chipped away at the life they’d built together.
Hemingway spent the whole of his marriage to Hadley working on his novels including some early drafts of the Nick Adams stories and the piece that would become The Sun Also Rises and The Paris Wife lets the twin plots of his career and their marriage unfold. Hadley, who narrates much of the book, is a reliable and relatable character, and MacDuffie gives her the range of maturity, emotion, and strength that she undoubtedly had. The Hemingway connection may draw in curious fans and avid literature buffs, but her gentle voice and easy manner will keep listeners hooked. Blythe Copeland
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley.
Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet 28-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises.
Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold onto her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.
A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.
©2011 Paula Mclain (P)2011 Random House
"The Paris Wife is mesmerizing. Hadley Hemingway’s voice, lean and lyrical, kept me in my seat, unable to take my eyes and ears away from these young lovers. Paula McLain is a first-rate writer who creates a world you don’t want to leave. I loved this book." (Nancy Horan, New York Times best-selling author of Loving Frank)
"After nearly a century, there is a reason that the Lost Generation and Paris in the 1920’s still fascinate. It was a unique intersection of time and place, people and inspiration, romance and intrigue, betrayal and tragedy. The Paris Wife brings that era to life through the eyes of Hadley Richardson Hemingway, who steps out of the shadows as the first wife of Ernest, and into the reader’s mind, as beautiful and as luminous as those extraordinary days in Paris after the Great War." (Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer and songwriter)
"McLain offers a vivid addition to the complex-woman-behind-the-legendary-man genre, bringing Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, to life.... The heart of the story - Ernest and Hadley's relationship--gets an honest reckoning, most notably the waves of elation and despair that pull them apart." (Publishers Weekly)
For anyone who loves Hemingway and the Lost Generation, this book is a wonderful imagining of what it must have been like to be there and the emotional journey that went along with being the wife of a figure like Ernest Hemingway in the early days. Other than a few clunky attempts at pronouncing French names and places, the narration is fantastic and does the story justice. This book made me want to re-read A Moveable Feast and many other classics of the Lost Generation (Great Gatsby and A Farewell to Arms, here I come!).
At first I wasn't too keen on this book but was listening to it as part of a book club. However, as time went on the book offered a unique view into a very important creative era in which the players were active participants in that creation. Final estimation; worth it.
The reader was way too girlie and never seemed real.
While my wife is the official member of Audible, I'm the one who uses it. McLain seems like a writer who appeals to women more than men. I can connect with an author regardless of gender, but if it feels too girlie, adios.
Disappointment. I just finished listening to
After about four hours into the book I decided not to continue. It was a combination of the my dislike for the reader and the realization that Hemmingway was an arrogant jerk, about whom I'd heard enough from in
I guess I'm a baby...I just love to be read to.
Entertaining...good story. This is a very user friendly novel. Interesting if you like history but I'm not sure how much is stone cold fact. Still fascinated me in way though.
Drawing in part upon The Sun Also Rises and other Hemingway books and stories, the author creates an enaging story about his youth and marriage to first wife Hadley, from her point of view. Great sense of place, not only in Paris but also other locations in France and in Spain.
I found this book stunningly "girly". My wife loved it. I quit halfway through. I had hoped to learn more about EH. It was much too much, "how girls chase boys", for my taste.
It was interesting reading about the early years of Hemingway and his first wife. The author gave a great description of the characters and the era. How true it was, I don't know, but it did hold my interest. It made me want to explore Hemingway's works.
This is a compelling story of Ernest Hemingway's relationship with his first wife, Hadley. The author invites the reader into the psyche of each of the characters in this fascinating account of life in Paris in the 20's.
As read by the narrator, poor Hadley comes across as whiney, juvenile and someone I wouldn't wish on anyone--even E. Hemingway. Her "true and brave" statements were delivered in a Shirley Temple-esque style. Cute in a young child but from an adult? I have a feeling the narrator is the reason I ended the book with little sympathy for Hadley, but I'll need to wait awhile before I buy the book to confirm.
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