“Under questioning I tried to tell Miss Stein that when you were a boy and moved in the company of men, you had to be prepared to kill a man, know how to do it and really know that you would do it in order not to be interfered with.” That Ernie thinks he has to tell a woman that men are rapey suggests to me that either 1) he doesn’t think heterosexual men are rapey or 2) he realizes that heterosexual men are rapey and doesn’t think that’s a problem.

I do think some parts of A Moveable Feast are funny in a nasty way, and I like those parts, like the one where Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald (another writer I have no particular use for) go on a road trip and Fitzgerald abruptly decides he’s dying and Hemingway is trying to talk him out of it. If Hemingway had stuck to being funny I think I would like him a lot more than I do, but those parts are only like 5 or 10 percent of the book, and the rest is him being Very Serious about his genius and about boxing and horse racing and the romance of being poor in Paris, and all that Manly Bohemian Writing Life stuff just bores the pants off me, it’s like being trapped at a party by a guy whose idea of flirting is talking about how interesting he is. Also, to continue the analogy, this particular guy drops coy hints about the tragic end of his happy marriage, and then you learn that his happy marriage ended because he screwed his wife’s best friend.

Of course, Hemingway wrote all of this long before I was born, and it’s not his fault that by the time it got down to me, the Manly Bohemian Writing Life stuff had become a collection of tired clichés. But I think I may have found it tiresome even if I had been around while it was happening. After all, men who find themselves fascinating bore and annoy me now, in real time.

Absinthe sounds interesting, though. I may try it myself sometime, though I understand the hallucinogenic properties have been greatly exaggerated, which is disappointing.