Monday, 10 March 2014

Pamplona and 'The Paris Wife'

I have just finished reading 'The Paris Wife' by Paula McLain.  It took me a little while to really get into the book, but then I could hardly put it down.

The Paris Wife

An historical fiction novel about Hadley Richardson, the first wife  (The Paris Wife) of Ernest Hemingway, and their years together.  The book tells the story of their early romance, great love for each other, marriage, trials romantically, financially and emotionally.  As newly weds they relocated from the US to Paris where Ernest struggled to find himself and to write the novel that would catapulte him onto the stage as a celebrated writer.  The books focus is on Hadley, her challenges as a devoted wife, friend, mother and Ernest's muse.  The years that the Hemingways' spent in Paris where heavy drinking, open marriages of friends, making connections with the 'right' people, glamour, affairs and jealousy, changed their love and their lives.  It was an emotional read.

Hadley and Ernest spent a lot of time in Paris and travelling to other European countries, but reading about their time together in Pamplona, Spain was my favourite.  The heat and feel of the city, the bull run, cafes and bars all brought back wonderful memories of Pamplona where the Huzz and I spent a few days during a 3 week Spanish road trip we did together in 2001.

I remember having breakfasts in Cafe Iruna where Ernest Hemingway had sat writing and drinking with friends and Hadley. The little hostel where we stayed, with a double stained glass windows that opened onto the street below.  The cobbled streets.  The town hall with window boxes overflowing with geraniums. The piazza where there was a huge demonstration early one morning, when a number of huge trees were cut down so that a parking lot could be built!   Whilst in Pamplona I had to buy Hemingway's book 'The Sun also Rises' (Fiesta) as a souvenir.

And so I went on a 'digital' search back through our hard drives looking for photographs of that trip in 2001. We didn't actually take as many photographs as I'd thought.  Here are just a few of Pamplona from 2001.

The windows of our apartment.

Inside Cafe Iruna

The beautiful piazza and trees that were cut down.

Poster advertising the bullfight

Fabulous hams in a cafe.

I'm now going to reread 'Fiesta', to relive the memories, and as I haven't read any other Hemingway novels, I'll be pickng a few from this selection and see how it goes. 


The Torrents of Spring
A Farewell to Arms
To Have and Have Not
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Across the River and into the Trees
The Old Man and the Sea
Islands in the Stream
The Garden of Eden


Men Without Women
Winner Take Nothing
The Snow of Killimanjaro


Death in the Afternoon
Green Hills of Africa
A Moveable Feast
(a memoir with much reference to his life with Hadley which I think I may read next)
The Dangerous Summer

Have you read any Hemingway?  Any recommendations?


  1. Hi - great recommendation, I think I should read that book. I read Hemingway when I was a teenager (as I was on this mission to read every 'important' writer) and recall i) the heat he described and ii) the loss that is evoked in so much of his work. To be honest it was a bit over my head at the time, perhaps I should go back and re-read?! Good to have jogged my memory though. Lou x

  2. I don't think I've read any Hemingway, I need to! I have been working my way through a selection of John Steinbeck over the last few months, I think Hemingway should be next.

    I've looked at "The Paris Wife" several time & so many people seem to recommend it, you've encouraged me to give it a try....I saw a copy in the wonderful charity bookshop near me just last week, I might pop in tomorrow & see if it's still there. Thank you for the reminder! X

  3. Hi: I saw your name on Jeanne H.'s blog. Your photographs are beautiful, especially the stain glass one.
    I never read any of Hemingway's books all the way through. That doesn't mean I didn't try to, however, I think his writing is too dark for my tastes.


Thanks for stopping by.

Related Posts with Thumbnails