I just did what all good Londoners hopping aboard the Eurostar from St Pancras to Paris do and devoured A Moveable Feast; not just the M&S sandwich and train snacks kind, but the Hemingway ode to the French capital.
Unarguably one of the greatest travel writers to have existed, Hemingway writes (just as he describes himself) with honesty and truth. In fact, he writes so very honestly that it might be fortunate that his friends – who included such little known literary types as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein – were almost twenty years dead by the time Hemingway wrote of their early days in Paris. The reader, however, is afforded a generous view into the world of 1920s Paris and the life of a struggling writer.
My host in Paris took me to see the home and cafes where Hemingway lived and worked during his years in Paris, with his wife Hadley, and it was as though I was walking through the book’s pages. What I enjoyed most of all about A Moveable Feast (aside from the literary gossip) was the author’s knack for describing food: its taste, textures and scents – especially when he would frequently need to go without it. As someone who writes about food for a day job and loves to talk all-things delicious, I was soon persuaded to take cover from the snow into the nearest boulangerie with haste.
[Jonathan Cape, 1964]