By Doc Lawrence
A half century ago, Ernest Hemingway took his life. His friend and biographer A. E. Hotchner spent many of the final days with the author and is responsible for much of the post-mortem literature including editing and naming of A Moveable Feast.
Book make good Christmas gifts, and Hemingway in Love: His Own Story (St. Martin’s Press 2015) should qualify a worthy stocking stuffer. It’s compact, masterfully edited, honest and interesting. Few had the access that Hemingway allowed to Hotchner, himself an author of seventeen books and co-founder with Paul Newman of Newman’s Own Foods.
Hemingway in Love is a remembrance of the author’s agony brought on by being in love with two women. There’s no need for a spoiler alert: Hotchner validates that Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife, remained the love of his life.
There are no real surprises except for one that made the mountain near me tremble. During his final years while he was suffering from depression, many close to Hemingway believed that his complaining of being followed and harassed by the FBI was produced by paranoia. After Hemingway’s death, Hotchner obtained a file from the FBI on Hemingway, a man never associated with crime or unpatriotic behavior. It confirmed mindless wiretaps and surveillance of one of America’s literary giants.
Hemingway in Love is properly titled. It is a look back at decisions alternating between good feelings and regrets brilliantly juxtaposed much like the Nobel Laureate perfected in novels and short stories. It is devoid of self-pity without a hint of misogyny and refreshing with unbridled honesty.
Read this and you might be inspired to give it to someone who loves literature. It may inspire you or the recipient to spend the winter in Key West or Havana to walk in Hemingway’s footsteps. Maybe have a Papa Doble at the end of the day.
Hemingway's Paris: A Writer's City in Words and Images
by Robert Wheeler, (Yucca Publishing 2015)
Listen to Frank Sinatra’s unsurpassed interpretation of Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” while you read and behold this masterpiece, Hemingway’s Paris. Spectacular black and white photographs of the City of Lights along with Robert Wheeler’s nostalgic prose. Walk along with Hemingway and his first wife Hadley, across the bridges. View the Café’s and sidewalk tables, the stairwells of apartments, back alleys, old boats by the river, galleries, parks and much more and before long you’ll wish you were there.
This is a stunning photographic tribute to the Paris of Hemingway’s literature, notably A Moveable Feast, all through the lens of a skilled contemporary artist, a gift that will appeal to your inner Hemingway.
Let’s meet soon at the Paris Ritz. We’ll each enjoy one of Hemingway’s favorite cocktails, the Montgomery Martini (a ratio of 15 parts gin to 1 part Vermouth.) and share stories about F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Aver Gardner and Gertrude Stein.