Hemingway and Mandarins


It is winter and the mandarins are here. Every winter, while the mandarins are at their best, I think of Hemingway in Paris eating mandarins and spitting the pips into the fire. I used to read “A Moveable Feast” annually. I am not sure when I stopped doing that. Perhaps I felt I could recite the book, or perhaps it was when the contents of the house were shifted about to replace the floor in the front two rooms and hallway, and I lost track of my books (sob). This year I am reading the book again. I feel compelled by more than just the mandarins and clementines. There was Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”, which I only managed to watch this year, on DVD. The dialogue seemed more than a little familiar. I have read several other novels set around the same time, although mostly not in Paris. Some were republished by Persephone Books (persephonebooks.co.uk). Others include “The Perfume Collector” by Kathleen Tessaro, and “The Other Typist”, by Suzanne Rindell.

This afternoon I will collect “The Paris Wife” from the local library. I could not decide whether I wanted to own a copy. But I do know that I want to read “A Moveable Feast” before I read it. Then perhaps after these I will read “The Great Gatsby” again, and “The Sun Also Rises” (another book I used to read annually, until I could recite sections).

But for now I am enjoying “A Moveable Feast” and a good supply of mandarins.

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