“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,” Ernest Hemingway wrote, in his picturesque description of the city in the 1920s. Now, in grief and defiance, Parisians are flocking to bookstores to purchase a copy of Hemingway’s memoir of his time spent in Paris as an expatriate writer.
The book -- titled "Paris est une fête" (Paris is a feast) in French -- is now flying off bookshelves across the French capital, according to media reports. While Hemingway’s memoir about the time he spent lounging in cafes, bars and restaurants with fellow writers and artists has always been popular in France, there has been a drastic surge in interest since last Friday’s attacks.
According to Bloomberg, which cited a spokesman of the book publishing company Folio, daily orders of the book have risen from approximately a dozen to nearly 500, since Monday. Copies of the book have also been placed along with flowers and candles in front of the sites of the massacres.
On the French website of the online retailer Amazon, the book is now temporarily out of stock. By Friday, the novel shot to first place on the website’s bestseller list.
Reports are crediting the revival in interest -- similar to one enjoyed by Voltaire’s “Treatise on Tolerance” in the aftermath of January’s attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo -- to a 77-year-old French women, identified only as Danielle. In an interview with the French channel BFMTV Monday, she urged people to read the memoir, terming it a celebration of France and fraternity.
“It’s very important to bring flowers for our dead,” she said. “It’s also important to see Ernest Hemingway’s memoir of life in Paris at the memorials because we are a very old civilization and we will uphold our values at the highest level.”
Parisians are also defying terror threats with initiatives like #tousaubistrot (everyone to the bistro), which urge people to keep enjoying the city’s cafes and bars.
After all, as Hemingway wrote: “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy -- at home and in Paris.”