|La Closerie des Lilas|
Hemingway loved to write here and called it "one of the best cafés in Paris."
Hemingway wrote these sketches of Paris long after he and Hadley lived there. Long after the suitcase full of his stories was stolen from the platform at the Gare de Lyon; long after he and Gertrude Stein had conversations about homosexuality, art and writing; long after he spent time among the shelves of books at Shakespeare & Company with Sylvia Beach; and, long after The Lost Generation - Une Génération Perdue - had aged into another generation.
No matter what I may think of Hemingway's personal life - his attitudes and actions - and I have had a somewhat love/hate relationship with them - I have to admit he is one heck of a writer. It has been quite a while since I read these snapshots of Paris and the prose is so bristling and evocative of the city that I had to put the book aside and make myself an espresso - un petit café, if you will.
Then there was the bad weather. - A Good Café on the Place St.-Michel
When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely. - Miss Stein Instructs
In those days there was no money to buy books. - Shakespeare and Company
When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. - A False Spring
You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food. - Hunger Was Good Discipline
The blue-backed notebooks, the two pencils and the pencil sharpener (a pocket knife was too wasteful), the marble-topped tables, the smell of early morning, sweeping out and mopping, and luck were all you needed. - Birth of a New School