Hemingway's Chairby Michael Palin, Michael Plain
Martin Sproale is a mild-mannered assistant postmaster who lives with his mother, has dinner with his would-be fiancee once a week, and bicycles dutifully to work every morning. Martin has only one unconventional hobby: He is obsessed with the life of Ernest Hemingway, his brilliant and macho alter ego. His hobby is confined to collecting memorabilia and reading every… See more details below
Martin Sproale is a mild-mannered assistant postmaster who lives with his mother, has dinner with his would-be fiancee once a week, and bicycles dutifully to work every morning. Martin has only one unconventional hobby: He is obsessed with the life of Ernest Hemingway, his brilliant and macho alter ego. His hobby is confined to collecting memorabilia and reading every biography he can find, until an ambitious outsider, Nick Marshall, is appointed postmaster over his head. Slick and self-assured, Nick steals Martin's girlfriend and decides to modernize the friendly local office by firing dedicated but elderly employees and privatizing the business. Suddenly, gentle Martin is faced with a choice: meekly accept his defeat as he always has, or fight for what he believes in, as his hero would. Aided by an American scholar writing a thesis about the women in Hemingway's life, Martin begins to explore his own passionate side. As the pair delves deeper and deeper into Hemingway's psyche and plots Martin's revenge, they learn that there is a man behind every mouse - and a little bit of Hemingway in all of us.
“His book is well paced, his prose, carefully hewn, his characters fully developed and convincingly human. And his comic timing is impeccable.” The Washington Post
“This book's strenghts are...its dry, deftly, understated wit, its careful plot and character construction; it's clever, on-the-money dialogue...Those pleasures carry you a long way.” The New York Times Book Review
“Throughout, Palin's empathetic humor informs this perceptive tribute to the art of manliness.” Entertainment Weekly
“Funnyman Palin brings a light touch to this yarn, treating his characters and their many weaknesses with an affection that will have readers rooting for his unlikely hero.” Publishers Weekly
“The spirit of Hemingway is evident in Palin's prose.” The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
“This comic novel should enjoy critical acclaim while finding popularity among readers who can't distinguish a Python from a garden snake. It is a tale of frustration that is both gentle and snappy, human to the core.” Library Journal
“Well crafted and witty.” Booklist
- St. Martin's Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.42(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.05(d)
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"Why do you hate Rose?" I raise an eyebrow
Why wouldn't l?
Michael Palin's Hemingway's Chair is perhaps one of the best novels I've read that accurately displays a sense of fanaticism and fantasy all at once. This book is a must for all Palin fans, Python fans, and to anyone that ever felt like they had an intangible connection with something very real. No doubt, Hemingway's Chair will make any child at heart nostalgic, and with Palin's magnificent detail, humor, and impeccable timing, the novel is precisely what any reader will be looking for, whether the reader be young or old, a fantasist or simply someone just dying the 'get away.' This book is PERFECT, just like it's author!
If you are not an Ernest Hemingway fan--and I am not, having only read The Old Man and the Sea way back in high school-- you can still enjoy this book, as it gives you enough Ernest to keep his influence relevant, while concentrating on the real story, which is the effect of change on 'the little people.' The only misfit among characters is the American writer. Tell me again: Why does a New Jersey college professor go to East-nowhere in England while on sabatical to write about Hemingway, unless it was to ensure absence of distraction. Perhaps because it is cheap? More explanation would have made her role less gratuitous, as she is a critical catalyst to the actions of our protagonist, Martin the Assistant Postal Inspector. Rather than lampoon the 'going postal' genre with slapstick violence, Pallin builds a case for a uniqely English version of a postal employee acting out in resonse to changes in the system. A breath of fresh air compared to the bloodbath an American TV show or movie would have used. The middle of the book holds the richest treasure, as we figure out where the title originates, and as characters react in authentically human ways to a variety of stimuli. In a blessedly concise length, the story of Everyman is told with humor, love and just a touch of that eccentricity that Pallin used to such good effect as a Python stalwart. If the characters weren't all developed in great depth, at least those who needed to be were deep enough to recognize as real. Enjoy this one, there aren't enough like it.