Book Review: 'Hemingway in Love: His Own Story'

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A.E. Hotchner. St. Martin's Press, 172 pp, $19.99

Ernest Hemingway had two personas. The first was the author -- the larger-than-life writer who is still considered a stable in the literary canon. He was one of the few that not only managed to achieve his level of success while he was still living, but he also was part of an amazing group of artists in Paris. He hung out with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1954 and is still considered one of the foremost writers of the 20th century.

But the other side of Hemingway is Papa, the enigmatic young man who was larger than life in a much different way. No expense was too extravagant, no experience was beyond the realm of possibility. If he wanted something he would have it, regardless of his current circumstances.

It's this persona -- Papa -- that's featured in A.E. Hotchner's memoir of Hemingway's life in "Hemingway in Love." In this book, Hotchner talks about his own relationship with Hemingway. Their relationship began when Hotchner was sent on assignment from Cosmopolitan magazine -- back when it was still literary-based -- to ask Hemingway to write an article on "The Future of Literature." He wrote a note to Hemingway, asking for a simple refusal in writing to present to his editor. Instead, Hemingway invited him for a drink. After that meeting, Hotchner went back to his hotel room and scribbled down what notes he could remember of their conversation, despite his drunken state. For the next years, through the rest of Hemingway's life, he continued to take notes on their conversations and interactions. They became quite close. And years ago he compiled these notes into a book called "Papa Hemingway." He could have released it when he wrote it, heavily edited at a lawyer's request. But he chose to hold onto the manuscript until now, when he edited it down to what it is now: "Hemingway in Love."

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