Grannus Musings book club met to discuss “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway. This book is a memoir of Hemingway’s time in Paris in the 1920’s, which he labels tauntingly as a mixture of fact and fiction. The book had to be relaunched this year in France as it became popular again after the 2015 Parisian terror atrocities. The book was written late in Hemingway’s life when the ravages of a car crash, two airplane crashes, a bush fire and an increased alcohol intake, to counter all the pain(!) were taking their toll. The impetus to write it followed a lunch with Charles Ritz in his Paris hotel in 1956, when Ritz reminded Hemingway that he had a bespoke Louis Vuitton trunk stored in the basement in which Hemingway rediscovered notebooks covering this period of his life.
The discussions acknowledged that this book was not great literature but offered a fascinating insight into the Paris literary scene in the 1920’s. Hemingway may not have crafted a great novel here, but he was still capable of writing “ As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”
Discussions, as ever, were broad ranging and not entirely limited to the literary merits of the book.