Note to self: When you’re feeling less than chipper and hopeful about the world around you, don’t read super-sad – albeit beautifully written – books about heartless, self-absorbed bastards who cheat on their perfectly lovely, long-suffering wives.
I won’t lie: So far, it’s been a rough summer.
Work has been intense, the hours long and grueling. And we moved a few weeks ago, which is always such fun. It was only this morning, nearly three weeks after we landed in our new digs, that I had enough presence of mind to unpack my computer and begin to try to create order out of my new home office.
But now, happily, I’m beginning to see lights at the ends of various tunnels.
I’m wrapping a huge project that I’ve been working on for months. It’s stolen a big chunk of my mental bandwidth (hence not blogging in nearly a month), so I’ll be psyched to get that back again.
And our new dwelling is great. There’s a pool, which the Wee Lass – fish that she is – is completely welded too. And Hubby and I intend to make full use of the tennis courts. Thwack. I was so into tennis a while back. Seriously need to pick that up again…
Plus, we’re smack dab on the river, which I’m mad for. We were close before, but now we’re on it, just like we used to be when we lived in Battery Park City.
So I’ve been running along the boardwalk, which has been great for keeping me sane. I defy anyone to show me another form of exercise that delivers the physical and mental one-two punch of running. I’m sorry, but running just melts the freaking pounds off you. And what it does for your brain – that endorphin-y, simultaneous calming / energizing bit? It’s beyond.
But back to this book.
Faithful readers know I’m an unrepentant Francophile. Thus I’m a sucker for virtually any book with the word “Paris” in the title – especially when it’s as well-reviewed, and beloved, as this one.
And it’s not as if I didn’t know what I was in for, cheating bastard-wise; the book flap clearly states that a “betrayal” is lying in wait between its pages.
Still, I wasn’t expecting to feel borderline bereft as it drew to a close – after Hemingway has pretty much taken a blowtorch to his first marriage, humiliating the aforementioned lovely, long-suffering wife, the one who stood beside him as he created himself out of whole cloth.
Basically as soon as I put “The Paris Wife” down, I went running to a particular bookcase in our home, the one that houses a beautifully bound collection of classics that Hubby has spent a small fortune on. (And which were almost-literally tons of fun for the movers to relocate to our new apartment.)
In search of Hemingway himself, there I found “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Sun Also Rises.”
I opted for the latter. That’s his first big novel, the one not-so-loosely based on actual events in his and his lovely, long-suffering wife’s lives. It’s centered around the bullfights in Pamplona – which, given my fondness for critters, disgusts me – and stars one of the many crushes the cheating bastard forced his lovely, long-suffering first wife to endure.
I’ve never been a big Hemingway fan – that staccato, rat-a-tat-tat writing style of his has, in the past, driven me up one wall and down another. On the boy-author front, I prefer the more flowery types; give me Henry James or D.H. Lawrence any day.
More currently, I totally love Augusten Burroughs. And I recently devoured, in maybe 24 hours, Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg.
But for some reason, “Sun” is really speaking to me. I have no idea why Hemingway’s staccato, rat-a-tat-tat thing is working for me right now, but it totally is. Of course I haven’t gotten to the bullfights yet. We’ll see. But it’s kinda fantastic. Hats off, you cheating bastard.