The Paris Wife

Paul McLain, The Paris Wife: A Novel (New York: Ballantine, 2011).

McLain - The Paris Wife
Why would a fan of Ernest Hemingway, who has read not only lots of books by Hemingway, but also many books about Hemingway, pick up a novel that is the telling of a story that he thinks he knows well? I have read A Moveable Feast. I have read books by those close to Hemingway. I have read Hemingway’s Boat. The answer is simple. For the same reason that I read Hemingway in the first place. I really like a well-written novel. McClain, by taking Hadley’s voice, has created a masterful story about a fascinating character.

The book is enjoyable and wonderfully written. I think it was Elie Wiesel who once said, “Sometimes in order to tell the truth, you have to tell a story. McLain has told us a wonderful story. We thought we already knew the story. And that is where the writing must have been tricky for McLain. She had to balance what we already know with details that only Hadley could have known, except they weren’t known by anyone - they are the product of a brilliant imagination.

Hemingway fan or not, this is a book worth reading.