STARRED REVIEW
June 2016

The inspiration behind a classic novel

By Lesley M.M. Blume
As the old saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. And the two often intertwine, as we learn in Lesley M.M. Blume’s mesmerizing account of the young Ernest Hemingway in Paris in the 1920s as he prepares to write his breakout debut novel, The Sun Also Rises.
Share this Article:

As the old saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction. And the two often intertwine, as we learn in Lesley M.M. Blume’s mesmerizing account of the young Ernest Hemingway in Paris in the 1920s as he prepares to write his breakout debut novel, The Sun Also Rises

While many readers are familiar with Hemingway among the expats and his post-World War I modernist classic, Blume opens up the story in surprising new ways. She was inspired to dig into this project after seeing a photograph of Hemingway with the main cast of characters who would later appear in the novel—what some called a barely fictionalized account of a trip by a group of friends to Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls. In Everybody Behaves Badly we meet femme fatale Lady Duff Twysden, inspiration for Lady Brett Ashley, Harold Loeb (Robert Cohn), Donald Ogden Stewart (Bill Gorton) and Patrick Guthrie (Mike Campbell). She describes not only their real-life intrigues but also the impact that the novel had on their later lives. 

Blume’s account also probes Hemingway’s first marriage and its dissolution and his larger-than-life literary ambitions. Among the most fascinating aspects of Everybody Behaves Badly are the insights into the editing, publishing and marketing of The Sun Also Rises. Here, we see the friendship of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway in action and their mutual dedication to craft. 

Blume’s book is nonfiction, impeccably documented. Yet, like Hemingway’s fictional masterpiece, it reminds us that real life can inspire great stories and writing.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Everybody Behaves Badly

Everybody Behaves Badly

By Lesley M.M. Blume
Eamon Dolan/HMH
ISBN 9780544276000

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres.

Sign Up

Sign up to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres!