The Paris Wife

  • by Paula McLain
  • Narrated by Carrington MacDuffie
  • 11 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a shy 28-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness when she meets Ernest Hemingway and is captivated by his energy, intensity and burning ambition to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for France. But glamorous Jazz Age Paris, full of artists and writers, fuelled by alcohol and gossip, is no place for family life and fidelity.
Ernest and Hadley's marriage begins to founder, and the birth of a beloved son serves only to drive them further apart. Then, at last, Ernest's ferocious literary endeavours begin to bring him recognition - not least from a woman intent on making him her own....


What the Critics Say

"I read it in two days, laughing and crying. What a heartbreaker . . . It has all the ingredients of a literary heart-thumper: sex, love, ambition, betrayal, impossibility and regret . . . McLain has given the voice, mind, pen and strength to a woman. Hadley is an intelligent, strong, adult woman in a deeply unsympathetic situation - glittering, but toxic and ultimately very undermining. It's a very haunting combination." (Bidisha)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Honest and beautifully written

Wonderful. Well read by narrator. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautifully written - detailed, crisp, vivid and filled with deep emotion. I highly recommend this book.
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- Maritza Breitenbach

yearning for a love that can last a lifetime

This novel which interprets Ernest Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, is read with a measured calm voice of Carrington MacDuffie. Her presentation allows deep emotions to flow through the words.

The Paris Wife is an almost understated description of events, mainly in Hadley’s voice with perfectly inserted third person commentaries. Two people partner through important stages in the development of their life paths and at the same time their care for each other allows them to start dealing with traumatic events of their youth.

So it is almost inevitable that the power and passion of their relationship has an end point because it really was about finding the paths to personal fulfilment rather than a whole of life journey. However, their story also evokes a yearning for the couple finding in their existence together a love that could last a lifetime. Ultimately this is about accepting the journeys within life and love that still leaves a yearning regret for things that flower and bloom and then fade and die.

I admired Hadley’s ability to be so objective about complex events – which take place in exotic and dynamic locations.

And she delights in what was good and true and fine (recurring words). There is also an appreciation of the unusual attributes of genius, of people who contribute so greatly, as he did, to the cultural interpretation of our life. Hadley lovingly and devotedly draws Hemingway into the social norms of love and parenthood and companionship – deep affection. But ultimately Hemingway is not compatible with these norms – through his family legacies and the experience of war -- and sheer genius.

This book me to reread some of Hemingway's work and of course I did a google search on what eventually happened to the various characters.

This is a very rewarding listen.
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- Jane

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-05-2012
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK