Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dear Great Book Guru, I would like to buy my mother a book next week for Mother's Day- something she would really enjoy. She loved the Woody Allen movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS which detailed the 1920's in Paris with cameo appearances by Flapper Age luminaries.  Can you recommend a surefire winner?           Devoted Daughter

Dear Devoted, I just had this same conversation with my friend Deb Pierce; her mother, like Deb, is  a voracious reader so a good book is always the perfect gift for her. I suggested PARIS WIFE by Paula McLain and this would be a particularly fine choice for you too.  Set largely in 1920's Paris, the novel is told from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson. When we first meet Hadley, she is twenty-eight years-old, living unhappily with her sister and brother-in-law outside of Chicago. Her career as a pianist is going nowhere and her marriage prospects seem dim, when she meets the twenty- year-old Hemingway. Both have had strained relationships with powerful families and find themselves  instantly drawn to each other. Within weeks, they have married and are headed off for Paris where Hemingway hopes to launch his literary career. Once there,  the couple finds the dazzling lifestyle of the Lost Generation to be in stark contrast to the horrific devastation brought about by the Great War. Detailed  descriptions of  Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce , Ezra Pound , John Dos Passos and many other familiar names form a fascinating backdrop to the story of this most conventional of Hemingway's many marriages. A good read!

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