I finally finished The Age of Dreamingby Nina Revoyr, and ended up giving it two stars on Goodreads.com, which translates to “it was okay”. It was very flawed in many aspects, mostly having to do with the ending that seemed completely tacked on, and the unnatural way the plot twist was revealed, but overall, it kept my interest. I love silent movies, so I enjoyed all the references to Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, the way the movies were filmed, and the contrast between silents and talkies. The first third of the book is painfully slow (that’s why it took me so long to finish), but once we learn more about the happenings of the murder case, it really picks up. The narrator was naive, almost child-like in the way he viewed people, and it was a weird juxtaposition when he kept stating that he was a ladies man. I just didn’t buy that, and it really feels off when you get to the end of the novel. I would recommend this if you enjoy works about silent movies, filmmaking, and/or racism in the early days of film and beyond.
I started reading A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, which I picked up at this awesome independent bookstore (Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe) in Washington, DC. I loved it so much, that we went back twice and I purchased four novels. I wish we had places like that where I live – the closest that we have here are either not wheelchair accessible or too far to drive to. This is why I would love to live in a city – awesome shops and places to eat or hang out wherever you look. But back on point – A Moveable Feast. I am a huge fan of A Farewell to Arms and Hemingway’s style of writing – the beautiful simplicity and organic flow of words that just hit you right in the heart. I have also read The Sun Also Rises, and hated it so much, plot-wise (let’s get drunk! Let’s go to the bull fight! Let’s go back to our hotel and get drunk! Let’s go back to the bull fight, drink, and go back to our hotel to drink some more!), but the writing was still fantastic. Or, as Hemingway would say, it was very nice. A Moveable Feast is a collection of autobiographical stories by Hemingway, and so far, it is beyond fascinating. I went to bed last night thinking about it, and it makes me want to write. The last book I read that evoked this sort of reaction was Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez, and I read that almost two years ago. I’m not even half way done with A Moveable Feast, but I can’t recommend it enough. If you plan on reading it, purchase (or borrow from the library) the restored version, as it reflects his original intentions with the novel as well as unfinished manuscripts that have been included in their own section.
You may be wondering what is up with the title of the blog post. I was reading the forward, written by Hemingway’s son, and came across this passage: “When I was a young person being raised in the Roman Catholic religion of my maternal grandmother, Mary Downey, born in County Cork, I heard [the Bible] read from the pulpit during service on Sundays and feast days.” My ancestral name is Downey, or so I thought until my dad and cousin informed me that it’s actually MacEldowney, and was shortened to Downey. But maybe Hemingway’s family did the same thing! Realistically, there are a lot of Downeys from Ireland and we are probably not related – but my cousin is still going to look into it, because there is always that chance that one is related to a famous author. I’m just going to pretend Hemingway is my cuz until I found out differently.