On a late night last week, I slipped out of the Paris Review offices, and into a more glamorous setting across the street. On lower level of the Tribeca Grand Hotel, movie stars were posing with practiced ease in front of a cluster of photographers. The occasion was a preview screening of the film Garden of Eden, which will be released on December 10. Among the celebrities there were Mena Suvari—who oozed classic Hollywood glamour in an all-black ensemble, bright red lipstick, and soft, blond, Veronica Lake waves—and Matthew Modine, tan, rugged, and sporting a jaunty blue scarf. Both star in the new film, based on the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same name. It’s an autobiographical tale set in Europe between the wars that chronicles a love triangle between Hemingway stand-in David Bourne (Jack Huston), his wife, Catherine (Suvari), and the stunning Italian heiress Marita (Caterina Murino), whom Catherine introduces into the relationship during the couple’s seaside honeymoon—a decision she will later come to regret.
The novel, unfinished at the time of Hemingway’s death and published—amid editing controversies—in 1986, was recently adapted for the screen by James Linville, former managing editor of The Paris Review. “My experience in the film industry has been very good so far,” he told me. “And much less rough and tumble than the New York poetry world. I’m being fun,” he hastened to add, though it’s easy to see why one would want to trade the world of rejection slips for the chance to mingle with beautiful people.