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Hemingway Adventure

Chapter 3: Paris

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Michael Palin - Hemingway Adventure‘Then there was the bad weather.’

This is how Hemingway begins A Moveable Feast - his fond tribute to one of the world’s most beautiful cities. And it gets worse.

In the sort of paragraph which puts travel agents out of business, he waxes lyrical over ‘the smell of dirty bodies’, ‘a sad, evilly run café where the drunkards of the quarter crowded together’, and leaves lying ‘sodden in the rain’.

From such uncompromising beginnings Hemingway fashions one of the most tasty, tantalising and original glimpses of the city of Paris, without once having to resort to the word ‘romantic’.

The irony is that a book which celebrates the promise of a young man with a life ahead of him was completed in the year Hemingway killed himself and published after his death.

A Moveable Feast is a bittersweet legacy, but amongst the bitterness (directed almost entirely at those who were once his friends) is a fine evocation of what it was like to be young and starting out on an awfully big adventure. How much of it still rings true remains to be seen.

As we unload our filming equipment outside a hotel in the rue Delambre on this fading February afternoon there is one thing he was absolutely right about. The weather is lousy.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Chapter 3: Paris
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 73

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