This year I reviewed Letters of Ernest Hemingway. About a year ago I read Paris Wife by Paula McClain I was honored to receive a request from Gioia Diliberto, the author of Paris Without End, to review her book. . It is Diliberto’s book that gave Paula McClain the idea for hers.
Without my ever really caring a whit about old Ernest, I have come to know him… for the cad he was.
Diliberto writes of Hemingway, “For all his macho posturing, Hemingway at his best wrote love stories that brilliantly charted the emotional nuances in relationships between men and women. His great talent was in evoking the most intimate moments of longing, and all his fictional love stories flow from the central love story in his own life- his marriage to Hadley. She is chiefly remembered, of course, for her portrayal in Hemingway’s poignant memoir of his youth in Paris, A Moveable Feast, where his remorse for leaving her can be felt on every page.”
Paris Without End is so much more detailed than Paris Wife; where Paris Wife was only a novel, Paris Without End tells the story as history thoroughly and interestingly.
The background information to the era in which Ernest and Hadley’s romance took place is an odd time in history. Hadley’s mother was a staunch feminist, theosophist and suffragist, and generally just found men repulsive. Both Hadley’s mother and sister, Fonnie, blamed sex for the subjugation of women.
Enter Ernest. Hadley was deeply in love with him, willing to say “obey” in their wedding ceremony, and enjoyed sex. Her mother would not have approved.
Both Hadley and Ernest had overbearing harsh mothers. And both of their fathers would commit suicide. Hadley would state matter of factly, “Ernest hated his mother.”
Married only six years, Hadley realized very soon after their marriage, “that she was more in love with her husband than he was with her, and that she would live throughout her marriage in the shadow of his personality.”
Hemingways’ first wife, Hadley Richardson, was so instrumental in his life that I think without her, Hemingway would never have been the writer he was. She shaped his characters, the storyline, the tight to-the-point way he had with words.