This is the book trailer for my new book published a month ago by Kindle’s private press. Thank you more than I can say for reading my blog, for loving/enjoying Hemingway, and for just plain still reading. Love and happy holiday season, Christine
Ciara O’Callaghan, who is a travel writer for the Irish Times, just wrote an article on trailing F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway and following their European, American, and Caribbean travels. Noting that they were the Jekyll and Hyde equivalent in the literary world with Hemingway being the ultimate man’s man, bullfighter, and womanizer and Fitzgerald being the eternal outsider and hopeless romantic, Ms. O’Callaghan notes that they nevertheless shared in common a fondness for hard and heavy drinking and quality writing.
They first met in Paris in 1925 when Fitzgerald was close to the top of the literary world and Hemingway was a mere newly-arrived hopeful. Ms. O’Callaghan traipsed from the Dingo Bar in Paris where the two writers first met, to Harry’s New York, and The Ritz, all in Paris and then traveled to the Finca Vigia outside Havana. While in the vicinity, she visited the El Floridita to sample some Papa Dobles plus a few daiquiris and sit next to the bronze statue of Papa at the bar.
She then moved on to Montgomery, Alabama to soak up some F. Scott ambiance. It was in Alabama that Fitzgerald made a home with his wife Zelda and ultimately their daughter Scotty.
Zelda came from a wealthy established Alabama family and her father–a Judge–was quite sure that this “writer” could not meet his daughter’s needs. Zelda, however, was in love and Fitzgerald was crazy over-the-moon in love with Zelda and off they went to Europe as a young married couple.
As Fitzgerald’s star began to fade, primarily due to drink and lack of focus which probably was due to drink, Hemingway’s star began to rise. Ms. O’Callaghan notes that Hemingway is often cast in the role of Hyde, i.e. more fiend than friend, known for criticizing Fitzgerald behind his back. Less known are his kind words to Fitzgerald and his constant reassurance that “you can write twice as well now as you ever could.”
My reading suggests that they both were always seeking reassurance from each other and even when they had a falling out, they would communicate indirectly through Max Perkins wondering what the other was doing. Perkins would accommodate and let each know something about the other. Fitzgerald always referred to Hemingway as “the greatest living writer of this century.” The were the original frenemies, before there was a word for it.
In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway does backhandedly put Fitzgerald down, but please let’s recall that it was published posthumously in 1964 without editing by Hemingway. For all we know, he would have changed that significantly. He could be cruel but he also could be extremely generous and loyal to his friends.
Ms. O’Callaghan ends her article by quoting Hemingway who once said that, “You should never go on trips with anyone you do not love,” and she notes that luckily for herself she loves both writers and enjoyed her travels with “them.”. Ditto here, although Hemingway is always first in my heart.
The most famous writer of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway, had such an eventful life that he created enough myths to keep his story alive well into this century. There are whole industries based on the Hemingway image: look alike contests held in Key West; bad Hemingway writing contests; drinks popularized by him; Harry’s Bar and Grill in Venice; the running of the bulls in Pamplona; and that’s just to name a few. All of the foregoing are efforts to have a connection with what he did and what he was.
He had many unattractive traits along with his more positive ones. His excesses are well-known and his granddaughter, Mariel Hemingway, who was born after his death, has made it her vocation to educate the public about mental illness and the need to avoid the destructive patterns that depression and alcoholism create for everyone around them. In her book “When Out Came the Sun” was published, she said she considered it a corrective “to the romanticizing of hard drinking and writing and living this macho existence, which I’m sure, if my grandfather could do it again, he would choose a different way.”
I just read an article which delineates some of the above and which reviews a new book on Hemingway by James M. Hutchisson, called Hemingway: A New Life. He quotes Hemingway’s brother Leicester as saying “he loved everything up to a certain point, and then nothing was good anymore.” Hutchisson’s searches for the roots of Hemingway’s discontent. He believes casual drinking that evolved into lifetime alcoholism and too much success at too young an age contributed. Hemingway developed a very competitive streak and his high standards created an almost suffocating anxiety in him, says Hutchisson. When critics savaged “Across the River and Into the Woods”, published in 1950, Hemingway felt it was unjust and it really bothered him deeply, tapping into his insecurities and anxieties. He particularly hated that James Jones’ “From Here To Eternity” was getting raves.
Toward the end of the 1950’s, Hemingway’s health and mental health truly began to fail. Two plane crashes in 1954 hadn’t helped his health. Years of drinking and failing to take care of his weight, blood pressure and exercise didn’t help either. After shock treatments at the Mayo Clinic, his short term memory was shot and writing even a thank you note was impossible.
For those interested in a fresh look, check it out. It’s published by Pennsylvania State University Press.
Dear Friends: My new novel–The Rage of Plum Blossoms–was just published by Kindle’s own private press. It is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. There are a few Hemingway references and if you like a mystery with some humor, please check it out. My previous novel, Tell Me When It Hurts, had more Hemingway references as the heroine is a big fan of his. The reviews so far have been good so please see if it might appeal to you.
The book trailer will be out soon. I’ll post it when it is. It came out really well in terms of capturing the mood and it’s short–always a good thing. Thank you so much for reading. Best, Christine
BOOK DESCRIPTION BELOW:
Attorney Quinn Jones is in over her head. Her husband, Jordan Chang, Annapolis grad and superstar businessman, has been found dead outside their Greenwich Village brownstone. He’s wearing clothes that aren’t his, and was last seen at a place he never went while consorting with people he shouldn’t. Since NYPD has labeled Jordan’s death a suicide, Quinn is on her own to uncover the truth. Courtrooms, Quinn knows. Chanel No. 5, horses, frizzy hair, and martial arts, she knows. Murder, she doesn’t know but she’s learning fast in order to stay alive. With a few clues to work with, including a photo of Jordan with a stunning unknown woman and a copy of a 1986 check payable to Jordan for twelve million dollars, Quinn stalks the back streets of Chinatown, haunted by the need to know what happened that day and why.
Continuation of post regarding my visit to the Kennedy Library, Hemingway Exhibit on Between the Wars
There was an anecdote displayed of an interview that Hemingway had with George Plimpton. Plimpton knew that Hemingway had written the end of A Farewell to Arms something like 39 times. Plimpton, a writer himself, asked if there was a technical problem that stumped him and why he kept re-writing the end. What was the problem? What was the hold-up???
Hemingway, in typical succinct style, replied “getting the words right.”
Finally, a famous quote from A Farewell to Arms (1929) was posted. Most people know the first sentence, but not the next one. It reads, “The world breaks everyone and after many are strong in the broken places.” Most people stop there.
It goes on, however, “But those that will not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these, you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”
Thus we go from something that sounds somewhat upbeat and promising to a rather grim conclusion. Still, above all Hemingway believed that men can’t be defeated even in death.
Finally, his mantra for writing was the following:
I was in Boston for a few days and took the opportunity to visit the Hemingway collection at the JFK Library and Museum. It’s about 20 minutes depending on traffic from downtown in a cab but shuttle buses travel out there more inexpensively as well. It is right on the water and very modern as you can see.
The present exhibit at the Hemingway Collection is entitled Hemingway Between the Wars, which covers much if not most of his career. The Old Man and the Sea, The Dangerous Summer, A Moveable Feast, among others came after World War II, (some posthumously. Hem died in 1961 and A Moveable Feast came out in 1964, edited primarily by Hemingway’s surviving wife, Mary. Garden of Eden was also posthumously published.) but The Sun Also Rises, Men Without Women, A Farewell to Arms, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and many of the more famous short stories, i.e. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Green Hills of Africa, all were done between the wars.
Although Hemingway had his first great romance (with Agnes Von Kurowsky, his attending nurse after Hemingway was injured) during the war–not between the wars, the famous photo of her and Hemingway was in the exhibit. While I knew well that F. Scott Fitzgerald had done some serious editing on The Sun Also Rises and cut out the beginning and told Hemingway to start at a different place—and the rest is history—they had the actual letter Fitzgerald wrote to Hemingway expressing his disappointment at the beginning and making his suggestion to cut in strong terms. Uncharacteristically and probably because he was young and not yet confident, Hemingway did not resist and took Fitzgerald’s advice, much to the improvement of the book.
There also was a list of titles that Hemingway considered for The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (1936). For those of you not familiar with this story, it is set in Africa and was published in September 1936 in Cosmopolitan Magazine concurrently with The Snows of Kilimanjaro. The story was eventually adapted to the screen as “The Macomber Affair” (1947).
The story deals with a dysfunctional marriage between Francis and Margot who are on a big game safari in Africa with a professional hunter Robert Wilson. On his first time out, Francis had panicked when a wounded lion charged him, which humiliated him in front of his wife who took far too much pleasure in mocking him about his act of cowardice. It is suggested that she sleeps with Robert Wilson. The next day the party hunt buffalo. Two are killed and one is wounded and retreats. It’s generally bad form, not to mention cruel all around, to leave a wounded animal as it is, and Francis and Wilson proceed to track him so that they can put him out of his misery. When they find the buffalo, it charges Francis Macomber. He stands his ground and fires, but his shots are too high. At the last second Macomber kills the buffalo with his last bullet and Margot fires a shot from her gun, which hits Macomber in the skull and kills him. Good times!
(Sorry, as a divorce lawyer I sometimes have a dark sense of humor on relationships.) Anyway, at the exhibit, there is a list of some of the alternate titles that Hemingway considered such as Marriage is a Dangerous Game, A Marriage has Terminated, The Cult of Violence, Marriage as a Bond.
Today, as we all ponder the insanity of politics–whatever your leanings–and going low or high, the below article about Hemingway’s simplicity with words struck a chord. I’ve excerpted it and will include the full cite at the end. Yes, we need ONE TRUE SENTENCE.
Commentary: The writer’s quest for that one true sentenc
By Robert Garnett
Years pass, sometimes decades, in which nothing of lasting interest is published.
First came Winnie-the-Pooh.
Then came a radically original first novel by a young Midwesterner living in Paris. Among American novels of the past century, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises remains uniquely influential.
There is no better time to appreciate Hemingway’s clipped, terse language than during the rhetorical bloat of an American election year, with Niagaras of twaddle and cliché tumbling into an oceanic puddle of verbiage.
“Zounds!” a Shakespeare character laments, “I was never so bethumped with words.”
It was Hemingway’s insight that English had grown genteel, formulaic, and glib; that mechanically chosen words and phrases, sliding easily onto the page, falsified experience and faked emotion. Shunning sentimentality and drama, genuine passion wastes no words.
“The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence,” his contemporary Marianne Moore observed: “Not in silence but restraint.”
The Sun Also Rises, like most Hemingway novels, is set in Europe.
An American journalist working in Paris, Jake the narrator loves an English femme fatale, Brett.
“Can’t we just live together?” he pleads.
“Not with my own true love,” she replies. For Jake has been emasculated by a war wound, they cannot consummate their love, and the highly sexed Brett has no aptitude for platonic friendship.
“And there’s not a damn thing we could do,” Jake says.
Their dilemma defies happy resolution.
What language to express a world without hope or illusion?
For five years Hemingway rose early, walked to a chilly rented room over a Parisian sawmill, and worked to find the answer. Slowly he developed his voice, reminding himself when discouraged that “all you have to do is write one true sentence.”
Hunter Stockton Thompson (18 July1937 – 20 February2005) was an American journalist and author famous for his flamboyant writing style, known as Gonzo Journalism, which blurred the distinctions between writer and subject, fiction and non-fiction. At the age of 67, suffering a bout of health problems, Thompson died at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Who knew? More than 50 years ago Hunter Thompson was visiting Hemingway’s Ketchum, Idaho home and pilfered a set of trophy elk antlers. In mid-August 2016, his widow, Anita Thompson, gave the antlers back stating that Hunter had always been embarrassed that he had taken them.
“He wished he hadn’t,” she said. “He was young, it was 1964, and he got caught up in the moment. He talked about it several times, about taking a road trip and returning them.”
The Ketchum, Idaho community library has been a repository for things that Hemingway used and that were from his Ketchum, Idaho residence. The antlers were returned to the Idaho community library and ultimately shipped to Hemingway’s grandson in New York City. For years, the antlers hung in the garage of Hunter Thompson’s home outside Aspen, Colorado.
The taking of the antlers has been local lore for a number of years and apparently now the antlers have found a final home within the Hemingway family.
At the end of this post is a link to the article I just read that talks about how Hemingway has been portrayed in film over the last 20 years. He has been written about significantly more than F. Scott Fitzgerald—perhaps because his life was longer and with a few more highs to focus on—but often in film, only one side of Hemingway is emphasized and the total picture of the man doesn’t seem to emerge. He’s either portrayed as a bragging drunkard whose light shown brightest only in his early works or as a macho, thrill-seeking hunter/bullfighting aficionado/fisherman who covered wars and rarely let up on the macho image that blessed and cursed him.
In all of my reading, I have seen another side of him that is very much present. Next to the drunkard braggart, there is also the gentle and insecure man who just wants to be left alone to write. Next to the macho big game hunter is the man who considered his animals part of the family and whom he treated with caring gratitude and love. When his spaniel Black Dog died, the depression that was already in progress deepened and he said he’d give up all of his fame and money for a case of good claret and “my Black Dog back when he was young and happy again.” And while capable of harshness to all of his wives at moments, he also gave generous support and kind appreciation for what they gave to him, including Martha whom he tended to vilify after the divorce. He readily acknowledged her writing skill and her courage. I don’t see too many of those nuanced aspects of Hemingway being portrayed on film.
In any event, this article talks about the following Hemingway based films:
In Love And War: Sandra Bullock plays the alter-ego of Agnes Van Kurowsky, Hemingway’s real life love when he was an ambulance driver in Italy. Chris O’Donnell was the Hemingway figure. It was not an intriguing movie.
The Last Good Country: This is short film portraying Hemingway returning home after World War I, haunted by physical and psychological demons. The film is supposed to be inspired, in part, by Hemingway’s story Big Two-Hearted River. The part of Hemingway is played by Nic Collins and from the reviews, he apparently acquits himself well in portraying the complexity of Hemingway’s war and postwar life.
3. Midnight In Paris: This is Woody Allen’s love film to Paris, but it also shows our stereotypical Hemingway who is portrayed with great fun by Corey Stoll. When Hemingway, apropos of nothing, shouts in a bar, “Does anyone want to fight?” I admit to laughing out loud.
4. Genius: This film just came out in June and focuses on Max Perkins, editor extraordinaire to Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe. The focus of the movie is on Wolfe, but Hemingway is in it in a few vignettes in which Perkins goes fishing with Hemingway presumably in Key West since this is set in 1929.
Hemingway & Gellhorn: The title is self-explanatory, but was something of a bore. Clive Owen played Hemingway; Nicole Kidman was Martha. Critics found it to be fairly dreadful.
Papa Hemingway In Cuba: This is also a new movie based on the true story of Hemingway’s friendship with Ed Myers, a young journalist. Reviews were mixed about whether it was not good or whether, as some critics said, “Sparks is superb in the title role and he captures Hemingway’s warmth as well as his irascible nature.”
It’s a fun article and recaps movies in the last 20 years that Hemingway has been captured in.