Husband narrates one (real), and the wife narrates the other (fiction), and the reader is the lucky one - getting to experience this one of the most poignant real stories.
The Paris Wife reads like a bit of those quick read page turners (read and forget types) - you read because it is Hemingway and Hadley that the book talks about, you read on. I enjoyed it, but it reads like a soap script, and is fun, but just that.
A moveable feast is delectable - as a feast itself. His direct style. His clean composition - it all sticks so well. And you keep thinking about it for a much longer time than Hadley's narration. These are sketches, so they don't flow unlike the other one, still, you want to read more and the next one, and you finish them off quickly.
It is very interesting to see the life, to see the other famous artists through their eyes. And then, if you just read a few other Paris Review interviews of some of the contemporaries, you broadly get a good picture.
It is also interesting to read the world views - the vantage points being different. What floats at the surface of people's mind, what touches them deep. I liked it.
What I didn't like was the general helplessness, or the lack of independence that Hadley has. And I don't like Hemingway for it. She has a lot of grace, but I just don't like and don't want to accept the way things turned out for them.
However, people do what they do, and they choose what they choose.
The books touched me - the heartbreaking end that it leads to. You want to hate Hemingway, but Hadley doesn't and Hemingway partly redeems himself in the last few pages of Moveable Feast.
What I liked - his discipline, work ethic of sorts. Groundedness until the 'rich' come in their life. The intensity. The very live/ very sharp/ very intense living, observing, experiencing.
The other thought that stays - people don't really know where life can take them ten years down the line. It is interesting to see the young Hemingway struggling...especially in their case, life changes so much and so often..so many people come and go, and sometimes you start feeling...if only they had known!
I have not read much of Hemingway. A book or two I guess. I tried to read his stories, but you need to grow up to them was what I thought. I'll look for them now, and try reading them.
I am really glad I read both the books together, and that I read these in the first place. It's quite something to note that they were the happiest when they were poor, and young. Its a good pairing (them, and the books) - and you see one better for the another.