Reader's Comments
Book Club Discussion Questions and Reading Guide - A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast

By Ernest Hemingway

PBR Book Review:

I enjoyed Hemingway’s clear direct writing style. In this memoire he reveals a lot about his life in Paris, his friends during these years and his philosophy on writing. It’s a short book with a lot of insight on his personal relationships. He had some amazing friends like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound and he is harsh and frank with his characterizations - which makes for very interesting reading. He’s also a good writer, creating a real sense of what his life was like during this period.

Book Club Talking Points:

This memoire is a glimpse into the personal life of Hemingway and is especially interesting if read in conjunction with “The Paris Wife” written by his first wife Hadley. Both chronicle the same time period and visit the same places and people. Much is revealed about Hemingway the man as he gives life to his thoughts and feelings. He was complex and not always truthful with himself.

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*Other Books by Same Author: Complete list of his books can be found here

*Discussion Questions

1. What does the title “A Movable Feast” mean in the context of this book? Discuss the significance of Hadley’s comment “memory is hunger” as it relates to the title.

2. Hemingway devotes entire chapters to characterizing his friends. Discuss some of these relationships. Which of his friends were difficult. Did he respect some more than others? What did friendship mean to him? Do you think his characterizations were honest and from the heart. His relationship with several people changed over the course of the book. F. Scott and Gertrud Stein in particular. Discuss these changes.

3. Discuss Hemingway’s philosophy of writing and how his writing style follows this philosophy. He makes several references to writing “one true sentence to build on“ and also mentions that he often omits critical plot points to make the readers think and ponder things.

4. Talk about the relationship Hemingway had with food. Throughout the book there are many references to hunger. There is also a chapter titled “Hunger is Good Discipline”. Do you think he was as poor and unable to buy food as he portrays in the book? Did he use food as a reward or as motivation to write and earn his living as a writer?

5. Overall, how would you describe his life during these years in Paris? Was he content? Why do you think he was happiest spending time in the mountains with Hadley and his son?

6. Talk about the tone of the book. Overall is it more pleasant and reminiscent of happy times or sad indicating regret and longing for times past?

7. How does Hemingway portray Hadley? It’s been said the book is a tribute to Hadley. And she was the one woman he truly loved. What do you think? Do you think he has any regrets about his treatment of Hadley? Why do you think their marriage failed?

8. Compare his portrayal of Hadley to his portrayal of Zelda, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife. He devotes a big portion of the book to his relationship with F. Scott and Zelda. Talk about how his relationship with F Scott progressed and changed.

9. “A Movable Feast” is written from the perspective of Hemingway, the successful writer looking back on his early years. Do you think he is as critical of his own behavior as he is of his friends? Does he pass judgment on his younger self?

10. Hemingway does not go into a lot of detail about his relationship with Pauline. He does relate his torment and also intimates he was somewhat the victim. Discuss how you feel about this. Although most of the book is in first person, when talking about Pauline, he uses third person. Talk about the significance of this.

(Questions by PBR. Please feel free to use them with acknowledgment.)

Book Summary
Simon and Schuster, July 14, 2009 - 240 pages
Published for the first time as Ernest Hemingway intended, one of the great writer's most enduring works: his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. Since Hemingway's personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined and debated the changes made to the text before publication. Now this new special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published.

Featuring a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, and an introduction by the editor and grandson of the author, Seán Hemingway, this new edition also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son Jack and his first wife, Hadley. Also included are irreverent portraits of other luminaries, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ford Madox Ford, and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft.

Sure to excite critics and readers alike, the restored edition of A Moveable Feast brilliantly evokes the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the unbridled creativity and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
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