“Love is a beautiful liar.”
All you need is one word to describe The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain and that would be depressing.
“Not everyone believed in marriage then. To marry was to say you believed in the future and in the past, too – that history and tradition and hope could stay knit together to hold you up. But the war had come and stolen all the fine young men and our faith, too. There was only today to throw yourself into without thinking about tomorrow, let alone forever. To keep you from thinking, there was liquor, an ocean’s worth at least, all the vices and plenty of rope to hang yourself with. But some of us, a very few in the end, bet on marriage against the odds. And though I didn’t feel holy, exactly, I did feel that what we had was rare and true – and that we were safe in the marriage we had built and were building everyday.” pg xi
After reading the above paragraph you’d think one would sigh at the sweet-love-conquers all sentiment, but not me. It made me depressed. Why? I knew Hemingway was married four times before he shot himself, so I knew this marriage didn’t last (I also knew it was because he had an affair). Then there was this after it all went down:
“All that was left for me was a terrible kind of paralysis, this game, this heartbreak game.”
So while I have nothing to say negative about the writing, you’re destined to be saddened (unless you hate love and wish it was murdered), because the story itself cannot be changed. Was it worth reading? Yes, it’s an interesting look into part of Hemingway’s life, but still sad friends, still sad.
While discussing this book, my friend Allison found the perfect song for this book and how we felt. It fits perfectly: