Following the horrific attacks in Paris in mid-November, Parisians are seeking comfort in literature, and in one book in particular.
Shortly after the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish supermarket, people all around France flocked to bookstores to purchase a copy of Voltaire’s ‘Treatise on Tolerance’ as a mark of resistance against barbarity. This time following the horrendous shootings that left 130 people dead and wounded more than 350 other on Friday 13th November, French citizens are once again turning to literature for comfort, rushing to buy Hemingway’s masterpiece ‘A Moveable Feast’.
In his Paris memoir, published posthumously in 1964 and titled in French « Paris est une fête » (Paris is a party), the famed American author recounts his bohemian adventures in the French capital as a member of the Lost Generation in the 1920’s.
This surge in popularity can be explained in part by the fact that #Parisestunefete has recently become a patriotic hastag on social media, but most of all by the interview given by a woman known only as “Danielle” to French TV station BFM TV, in which she urged her fellow citizens to bring flowers to commemorate the dead and to read Hemingway’s tribute to Paris because “we are a very ancient civilization, and we will hold high the banner of our values, and we will show brotherhood to the five million Muslims who exercise their religion freely and kindly, and we will fight against the 10,000 barbarians who kill, they say, in the name of Allah.”
As a consequence, while the book has shot to the top of the literary charts, copies have also been placed along with flowers and candles on the sites of the massacres to show that no matter what, Paris will remain one of world’s capitals of culture.
And if ‘A Moveable Feast‘ is far from being misty-eyed about Paris, it remains a beautiful celebration of the city, described as an exciting place with a festive way of life. After all, as Hemingway himself wrote in the opening lines: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Lead image © lazyllama