The Paris Wife

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The Paris Wife
The Paris Wife book cover.jpg
AuthorPaula Mclain
CountryUnited States
Media typePrint (paperback)

The Paris Wife is a 2011 novel by Paula McLain which became a New York Times Bestseller.[1] The Paris wife is a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway's marriage to Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives. McLain decided to write from Hadley's perspective after reading A Moveable Feast, Hemingway's account of his early years in Paris. McLain researched their biographies, letters, and Hemingway's novels. The Sun Also Rises is dedicated to Hadley and their son.


The novel focuses on the romance, marriage and divorce of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson. The couple met when Hemingway was 20, and Richardson was 28. They married in 1921 and soon moved to Paris. There they met Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.

Their marriage fell apart as Hemingway began having an affair with Richardson's friend, Pauline Pfeiffer.


The Paris Wife was popular with readers, and "shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list soon after its release in 2011."[2] Helen Simonson praised the book, writing, "I loved this novel for its depiction of two passionate, yet humanly-flawed people struggling against impossible odds—poverty, artistic fervor, destructive friendships—to cling on to each other."[3] Though Janet Maslin criticizes McLain's characterization of Richardson, writing, " She’s thick, and not just in physique. She’s slow on the uptake, and she can be a stodgy bore."[4]


  1. ^ "Trade Paperback bestsellers". New York Times. May 5, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  2. ^ Pierleoni, Allen (2/5/2013). "Paula McLain discusses "The Paris Wife" in advance of her Bee Book Club visit". The Sacramento Bee. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Simonson, Helen. "Guest Reviewer: Helen Simonson on The Paris Wife". Amazon.
  4. ^ Maslin, Janet (2011-02-27). "A First Wife Can Be So Stolid and Clueless and Plain and Pregnant". The New York Times.

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