Title: Hemingway In Love
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
Acclaimed author and feisty nonagenarian A.E. Hotchner in his book ‘Hemingway in Love’ offers a verbatim recollection of conversations that occurred between Hemingway and himself in several locations, spread over a span of several years. The book includes incidents about Hemingway’s first marriage to Hadley Richardson, which ended when he fell in love with Pauline Pfeiffer. After divorcing Hadley, he married Pauline, quickly discovering that he had made a huge mistake. He confessed to Hotchner that his first wife was the love of his life and whom he sought for as long as he was alive.
Hotchner affectionately reflects on his friendship with the iconic novelist in this book. In the spring of 1948 he was assigned by Cosmopolitan to get an article on “The Future of Literature” from Ernest Hemingway. He never did manage to finagle the predictive think piece from Hemingway. But what happened was that the meetings turned into a lasting friendship with the passage of time. The piece that Hotchner was supposed to get burgeoned into two substitute short stories and came out Across the River and Into the Trees, which Cosmo ran in three parts.
The writer reminiscences his time with Hemingway. They drank together. And how they talked! Hemingway trusted Hotchner and opened up to him in Cuba, New York, Paris, Venice, on the Riviera, in Madrid, Sun Valley, and finally at the Mayo Clinic. This particular book doesn’t delve much into their personal relationship. We get a glimpse of Hemingway’s love life instead. It is the portion that Hotchner had to — and that he chose — to leave out from “Papa Hemingway,” a memoir that he penned fifty years ago, in reverence to Hemingway’s fourth wife and widow, Mary. There actually isn’t much new information in this memoir. Those who’ve read the previous one would certainly be disappointed but for those who haven’t, this is a chance to get to know the actual Hemingway.
Memoirs can be biased because of the closeness between the subject and the writer. Though Hotchner portrays Hemingway as sad and lonely, he fails to generate sympathy for the man. Instead, the novelist emerges here as self-absorbed, childish, and unbelievably naïve in his demeanour. However, it does generate enough curiosity for the reader. I’d recommend the book to all those who like their share of memoirs and also to those who’d want to know Hemingway.
About the Author:
A.E. Hotchner is a life-long writer and the author of O.J. in the Morning, G and T at Night and Papa Hemingway, the critically acclaimed 1966 biography of his close friend Ernest Hemingway. Hotchner's memoir, King of the Hill, was adapted into a film in 1993 by Steven Soderbergh. In addition to his writing career, Hotchner is co-founder, along with Paul Newman, of Newman's Own foods. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and pet parrot, Ernie.
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in