A Moveable Feast
Book Review - A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Flâner Series 2/3
This is the second book in a three-part series I'm doing of the books I received in my Capsule Books Box last season. The first book was Cheri and The Last of Cheri by Colette (click here to read that review.) Capsule Books are seasonal boxes sent quarterly which consist of three books based on an emotion. The box I chose was the Flâner.
Flâner literally means “to stroll idly,” without any goal or destination in mind. While the word itself is a verb and not so much a feeling, there’s a certain beauty in strolling along the streets leisurely. It is this feeling we feel when we decide one day to just walk around, and look at the people and the buildings and find the beauty in details we so often miss. It is this feeling Francophiles spend their whole lives chasing. - Capsule Books
I first read this book in 2013 when I took a group of students for a 2-week study abroad in Paris. One of my most memorable experiences is reading A Moveable Feast in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France. I fell in love with this book at that moment and it has ever since been one of my favorites, one I hold close to my heart. So when I saw this book was included in my Capsule Books Box, I had two reactions:
I definitely chose the right box, and I'm excited to read the other two books selected along with A Moveable Feast
I'm afraid to re-read A Moveable Feast for fear that it won't resonate with me the way it had the first time.
I was afraid I would experience the same thing Chéri and Léa felt when they tried to rekindle an old relationship (this is a Cheri and The Last of Cheri, you'll want to read my review of that book!) Or how John Steinbeck felt when he said, "You can't go home again because home has ceased to exist except in the mothballs of memory." I was afraid that A Moveable Feast, the way I remembered it, no longer existed except in the mothballs of my memory.
I should not have worried - it was even better the second time around. Quotes that stuck out to me the first time still resonated - and new chapters and stories that I had forgotten about had new meaning for me this time. The theme of this Capsule Books Box was Flâner, or to stroll idly. There is a quote on page 13 that perfectly captures this idea,
This quote really stuck out to me this time around because I like to walk through the Lurie Gardens and then go to the Art Institute of Chicago where the great paintings are. I could rewrite this quote for Chicago and my life right now and it would work perfectly. Okay, I may not go daily but I do probably make it biweekly.
If you were to ask my husband to describe my perfect date, he would use this quote from page 37,
One of my favorite things is to just walk around the city, absorb the energy, watch people. I could walk for hours, literally stroll idly with no destination in mind. The idea of Flâner, that sense of beauty in strolling along the streets leisurely, is the truest thing I know. Perhaps we stop for a drink and a bite to eat at a good cafe then continue on. I could do this all day.
The quote that spoke to me the most the first time I read this book (which was when I took a group of students to Paris) can be found on page 175. Ernest Hemingway had just returned from a trip with Scott Fitzgerald which can best be described as a comedy of errors (or just a clueless/alcoholic travel companion) and he's telling his wife about the trip,
I read this on my first (and last...so far) study abroad trip as a faculty member. I was really frustrated with my travel companions and I read that line and thought to myself, Yes. Hemingway gets it.
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