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The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 28 April 2011.

A heart-wrenching story of ambition and betrayal that captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley - will be heralded as a classic and great love story.

If you like Paula McLain you might also like to read books by Alan Hollinghisrt, Jennifer Egan and Ernest Hemingway.


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness, until she meets Ernest Hemingway. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they soon fall in with a circle of lively and volatile expatriates, including F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. Ernest and Hadley are thrust into a life of artistic ambition, hard liquor and spur-of-the-moment dashes to Pamplona, the Riviera and the Swiss Alps. But Jazz Age Paris does not lend itself to family life and fidelity. As Hadley struggles with jealousy and self-doubt, Ernest's ferocious literary endeavours begin to bear fruit, and the couple faces the ultimate crisis of their marriage - a deception that will lead to the unravelling of everything they made for themselves in Paris, their 'great good place'.


Hadley is a deeply touching character, dignified even as she loses almost everything she's loved, and making her goodness both convincing and interesting is an impressive feat -- Olivia Laing * Guardian * [A] beautifully imagined novel . . . sharp, unsparing and delivered in a pared-down prose that the great man himself would have applauded * Sunday Telegraph * As much about life and how we try to catch it as it is about love even as it vanishes . . . utterly absorbing -- Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress A beautiful portrait of being in Paris in the glittering 1920s - as a wife and as one's own woman * Entertainment Weekly * With vivid, memorable touches . . . McLain captures Hemingway's legendary charisma, and his fatal tendencies -- Sarah Churchwell * Guardian *

About the Author

Paula McLain received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is the author of two collections of poetry, as well as a memoir, Like Family, and a novel, A Ticket to Ride. She lives in Cleveland with her family.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th January 2012


Paula McLain

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Virago Press Ltd an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


400 pages


Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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