From a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, a brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is perceived and understood.
Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961--from Hemingway's pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide--Paul Hendrickson traces the writer's exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, "Pilar."
We follow him from Key West to Paris, to New York, Africa, Cuba, and finally Idaho, as he wrestles with his best angels and worst demons. Whenever he could, he returned to his beloved fishing cruiser, to exult in the sea, to fight the biggest fish he could find, to drink, to entertain celebrities and friends and seduce women, to be with his children. But as he began to succumb to the diseases of fame, we see that "Pilar" was also where he cursed his critics, saw marriages and friendships dissolve, and tried, in vain, to escape his increasingly diminished capacities.
Generally thought of as a great writer and an unappealing human being, Hemingway emerges here in a far more benevolent light. Drawing on previously unpublished material, including interviews with Hemingway's sons, Hendrickson shows that for all the writer's boorishness, depression, and alcoholism, and despite his choleric anger, he was capable of remarkable generosity--to struggling writers, to lost souls, to the dying son of a friend.
We see most poignantly his relationship with his youngest son, Gigi, a doctor who lived his adult life mostly as a cross-dresser, and died squalidly and alone in a Miami women's jail. He was the son Hemingway forsook the least, yet the one who disappointed him the most, as Gigi acted out for nearly his whole life so many of the tortured, ambiguous tensions his father felt. Hendrickson's bold and beautiful book strikingly makes the case that both men were braver than we know, struggling all their lives against the complicated, powerful emotions swirling around them. As Hendrickson writes, "Amid so much ruin, still the beauty."
"Hemingway's Boat" is both stunningly original and deeply gripping, an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this great American writer, published fifty years after his death.
"From the Hardcover edition."
"I read ["Hemingway's Boat"] without a pause. . . . [It's] a biography that is at once admiring and devastating, and full of material that I wouldn't have thought even existed and of people who knew Hemingway whom I'd never heard of--an eye opener of a book, full of unexpected riches, fascinating digressions, and leaving one at the end wishing the book were longer, and thinking long and hard about the price of fame and success in America, and the dangers of seemingly getting everything you wanted out of life--it just may be the best book I've read this year, and certainly the best book I've read about an American writer in a long, long time." --Michael Korda, "Newsweek "Favorite Books 2011
"A lyrical and expansive search for the essence of a famous writer--heart, soul, and hull." --Julia Keller, "Chicago Tribune" Top Picks of 2011
"The author, an accomplished storyteller, interprets myriad tiny details of Ernest Hemingway's life, and through them says something new about a writer everyone thinks they know." --"The Economist "Books of the Year 2011
"Hendrickson's engrossing book offers a fresh slant on the rise and fall of a father figure of American literature." --S"an Francisco Chronicle" Best Books of 2011
"There's never been a biography quite like this one. . . . The stories are rich with contradiction and humanity, and so raw and immediate you can smell the salt air." --"Publishers Weekly" Best Books of 2011: The Top 10
"Rich and enthralling . . . Paul Hendrickson is a deeply informed and inspired guide. He often appears in the first person, addressing the reader and exhorting him or her to speculate, imagine, or feel. He has researched exhaustively, been to the places Hemingway frequented, and talked to whoever was part of or had a connection to the Hemingway days. His diligence and spirit are remarkable. It is like traveling with an irrepressible talker who may go off on tangents but never loses the power to amaze. .a
Number Of Pages: 704
Published: 24th July 2012
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 13.411 x 3.81
Weight (kg): 0.649