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Between 1948 and 1961, Earnest Hemingway and A. E. Hotchner traveled together from New York to Paris to Spain, fished the waters off Cuba, hunted in Idaho, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. And everywhere they talked. For 14 years, Hotchner and Hemingway shared a conversation. Hemingway reminisced about his childhood, recalled the Paris literary scene in the twenties, remembered his early years as a writer, and recounted the real events that lay behind his fiction. And Hotchner took it all down. His notes on ...
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Between 1948 and 1961, Earnest Hemingway and A. E. Hotchner traveled together from New York to Paris to Spain, fished the waters off Cuba, hunted in Idaho, and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. And everywhere they talked. For 14 years, Hotchner and Hemingway shared a conversation. Hemingway reminisced about his childhood, recalled the Paris literary scene in the twenties, remembered his early years as a writer, and recounted the real events that lay behind his fiction. And Hotchner took it all down. His notes on the many occasions he spent with his friend Papa - in Venice and Rome, in Key West, on the Riviera, in Ketchum, Idaho, where Hemingway died by his own hand in 1961 - provide the material for this utterly truthful, profoundly compassionate bestselling memoir of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. What emerges is an extraordinary portrait of a great writer who had, and determined, the time of his life.
Posted April 24, 2001
Mr. Hotchner met Ernest Hemingway in Cuba while Mr. Hotcher was just a young man. His editor had sent him to Cuba to persuade Mr. Hemingway to write a magazine article. Acutely embarrassed by the idea of 'bothering' one of the greatest American writers, he finally sent a note to Mr. Hemingway asking for a rejection letter he could show to his editor. Apparently charmed by Mr. Hotchner's diffidence (and probably wanting a drinking buddy and an audience), Mr. Hemingway called to invite him over. They quickly became fast friends, and the relationship lasted for 14 years until the 1961 suicide by Mr. Hemingway. The attraction of this book for most readers will be the 'behind-the-scenes' look at what it was like to pal around with Mr. Hemingway, and the events that led up to his death. Mr. Hotchner has a good memory for stories and dialogue, and reports on what Mr. Hemingway said and did in his presence in some detail. He does this in the way you might adapt a taped conversation into a screenplay, so the dramatic movement is quite good. On the other hand, he is totally uncritical of what Mr. Hemingway said or did. Other biographies of Mr. Hemingway have indicated that much of what he said about himself was hopelessly exaggerated, apparently as a prop for a fragile ego. Despite the fact that both men were writers, and Mr. Hotchner sometimes helped Mr. Hemingway edit his work, the book has very little to say about Mr. Hemingway's writing, but a lot to say about what he did when he was not writing. That is like writing a biography of Picasso and focusing almost solely on his relationship with women. Ernest Hemingway's drinking and carousing are not the reasons why we are interested in him. Although to some it is glamorous to read about endless trips to the race track, drinking endless cocktails and wine, and partying in Spain, others will find it gross. I graded the book down accordingly for these two flaws. The book is quite sad in capturing the frustration that Mr. Hemingway felt as his ability to write left him. Because he was a celebrity, he seemed to get less than the care he really needed while suffering from some sort of depressed paranoid state (he thought that the Federal government was tailing him). After you have finished reading about these experiences, I suggest you look on the positive side. Is there some great person you would like to meet? How can you legitimately introduce yourself? That could be the start of an amazing friendship of your own. Be sure not to overlook finding friends where you least expect to meet them. Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent SolutionWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 7, 2001
I have always been a great admirer of Ernest Hemingway's writings. As a young man I read most of his major works. This man was not cheated of life experiences. Whether embellished, exaggerated or complete fiction, his literary works and adventures, whether true or not, make great stories and are probably envied by most men. Mr. Hotchner's biography revealed many unknown facts of Hemingway's life. He must feel extremely proud to have been a close friend of Ernest. The tragic last year or so of Hemingway's life were unknown to me, but he must have suffered greatly. His demise does not diminish his classic literary skills. Mr. Hotchner himself, displayed great writing skills also. I have always considered Hemingway 'A man's man'. This is probably why Ernest befriended Mr. Hotchner, who also has been around the block a few times himself. Mr. Hotchner experienced some very intimate moments with Ernest and as written was a very close and good friend. In the end we should all have as good a friend as Mr. Hotchner was to Ernest Hemingway. For anyone interested in the life of Ernest Hemingway this book is a must!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.