Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Paris Wife

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Okay, first I have to admit something I should probably be ashamed of- I haven't actually read any Hemingway. So why is that I am lusting over February 22 2011  release from Ballantine Books, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, a book told from the perspective of Hemingway's first wife? I don't know, but it sounds incredible.

No twentieth-century American writer has captured the popular imagination as much as Ernest Heminway. This novel tells his story from a unique point of view — that of his first wife, Hadley. Through her eyes and voice, we experience Paris of the Lost Generation and meet fascinating characters such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Gerald and Sara Murphy. The city and its inhabitants provide a vivid backdrop to this engrossing and wrenching story of love and betrayal that is made all the more poignant knowing that, in the end, Hemingway would write of his first wife, "I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her."

I just love how Hemingway described his relationship with her, however use of real historical figures is a hit or miss for me. When it's done well, like Colum McCann's Dancer, it can be extremely powerful. However sometimes the author forgets they are writing a novel not a biography and go a bit overboard with the boring details. I can't wait til February to see what McLain delivers in The Paris Wife.

How do you feel about use of real historical figures as main characters? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?


  1. I adore real historical figures as main characters, and I'm really looking forward to this one too. Great pick!

  2. This book is a great companion piece to Jerome Tuccille's hilarious parody, A PORTRAIT OF HEMINGWAY AS A YOUNG MAN. Read McLain's more serious in-depth portrait of the famous writer, then read Tuccille's satirical send-up set during the same period, Paris in the 1920s.


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