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Chapter 18 - Mr. Hemingway's Boat


I don't know if you've had a chance to watch the special aired by PBS on Ernest Hemingway. It was/is a three part series approximately 2 hours per episode. You can probably stream it now from their website. As a young man, Hemingway drove an ambulance and was injured during World War I. The injury was so severe that it was a wonder it didn't kill him. After the war, he went back to being a journalist, married Hadley Richardson, and moved to Paris. It was there that he wrote his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, and met his second wife, Pauline.


Throughout his life, Hemingway suffered a number of concussions and other brain as well as body damage. He made decisions which were advantageous primarily to him, and discarded women who loved him once they had done all they could for him. Nevertheless he remained a prolific and respected writer, one which young writers study even today to learn his crisp, clean style.


I am a fan of his writing and if you have never read him before, I recommend The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and A Moveable Feast as well as his short stories. As interesting are the books that have been written about him and his wives.


Here are my favorites...


The Paris Wife by Paula McLain - This is a novelized account of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley Richardson, their courtship and their life in Paris. During their time in Paris, Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises and became friends with some of the best known authors of 20th century literature.


Love and Ruin by Paula McLain - I guess McLain was on a Hemingway kick when she wrote this novel about Martha Gellhorn and her relationship with Ernest Hemingway when she was 28. Gellhorn was an accomplished journalist in her own right when she became involved with Hemingway during the Spanish Civil War. Her story is worth reading.


Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood - Naomi Wood's debut novel is about all four of the Mrs. Hemingways. "Naomi Wood's Mrs. Hemingway tells the story of how it was to love, and be loved by, the most famous and dashing writer of his generation. Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary: each Mrs. Hemingway thought their love would last forever; each one was wrong." Wood used letters, journals and other historical documents in the creation of her novel.


Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck - Here is yet another story about the Hemingway years. In Key West a young woman struggles to feed her family after her father's death. She is hired into the home of Ernest and Pauline Hemingway and soon enters a world of lavish, celebrity filled events and excursions.


Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost by Paul Hendricks - This is a nonfiction account of Ernest Hemingway which spans his life from 1934 until 1961, the year he committed suicide. It is a good overview of the conundrum that was Hemingway.


Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds - Another biography of the great author, this one speaks to the many facets of his life from his anti-fascist days to his recruitment by the KGB, to his sympathy for Castro and the Cuban revolutionaries. I don't know if there has been another author is history who has experienced the life that Hemingway did.


Do you have a favorite book of Ernest Hemingway's or have you read anything about him? Let me know!