Monday, 4 June 2018

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain - Book Review

I read and loved The Paris Wife by Paula McLain when it came out. I had never read anything by Ernest Hemingway, but his is an iconic name in the literature world, and the book is historical fiction set in one of my favourite cities. What's not to enjoy?

Fast forward a few years. I still haven't read any Hemingway, and yet I continue to be fascinated with his life and his wives.

In Love and Ruin, Paula McLain introduces us to Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway's third wife. A writer herself, she and Hemingway fell in love while chasing stories together around the globe.

Gellhorn published novels, novellas, essays, and was especially known for her work as a war correspondent. She was ambitious, independent, and courageous.

All of these qualities are illustrated within the novel, and it's not hard to see how Gellhorn and Hemingway were on a collision course even before their marriage began. It's not often I read a novel and look forward to the couple parting ways; however, Hemingway became so terrible to her, that I silently cheered every time she made a decision for herself and her career.

Love and Ruin is a novel that demands to be read slowly and encourages you to savour this slice of history you are learning at the same time. McLain is a gifted writer. I especially think that anyone else who is a writer (of any kind) will enjoy this book. Both of the protagonists are writers, and McLain shares many relatable descriptions of the experience during the writing process.

"Until a few months ago, it had been my general understanding that if you were a writer, you pummelled your own soul until some words trickled out of the dry streambed, enough to fill a saucer or a teaspoon or an eyedropper. And then you wept a little, or gnashed at your teeth, and somehow found the fortitude to get up the next day and do it again."
Love and Ruin, Paula McLain

Fans of The Paris Wife will surely enjoy reading another chapter from Hemingway's story. Love and Ruin is available now wherever books are sold.


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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