Ernest Hemingway is more than a writer… He is a name, an entity, an icon in the same manner as those other American giants Marilyn Monroe, JFK, George Washington and Henry Ford. All of whom are instantly recognisable, as names… but what do we really know of them?
In the particular case of Ernest Hemingway I feel confident in saying that most people know very little about the real Ernest Hemingway.
At first glance we see what his publicist would want us to see – the strong, attractive, virile, Don Juan; the macho big-game hunter, the bull-fighting aficionado, the deep-sea fisherman, the WWI veteran and WWII war correspondent. In this guise he is at once magnificent and risible.
As such we also have a firm idea of what his books contain. Tough male characters, brutally bare prose, weak women and lots of dead animals. But are we correct in our assumptions?
Hemingway is not the man he seems. He is delicate, sensitive, intelligent and warm. His characters have great strengths, true, but are also loaded with many weaknesses.
Hemingway was searching for the true and the true doesn’t reside in larger than life superheroes but in ordinary men and women forced to deal with life as it is – complicated, beautiful, messy, odorous, and at times, disappointing.
The wonder of Hemingway’s novels is often we are left with the impression his characters are heroic for they have battled against forces we battle with and they have found, if not victory, then some solace, some encouragement, some life giving truth which uplifts their spirit and which also manages to uplift our own as well.
To find the real Hemingway one needs only to read him. He cannot deviate far from his truths. He may strut at times but the real Hemingway, the Hemingway of the Nick Adams stories (in The Essential Hemingway) or the Hemingway of that anti-hero in Fiesta, Jake, is never far away. There is fragility in every pose.
For those coming to Hemingway for the first time I recommend buying The Essential Hemingway which contains Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises in it’s entirety and a wonderful collection of his short stories. I am not much into short stories but I make an exception with Hemingway who has the power to sketch a world in a passage and suggest the lessons of a lifetime in a phrase.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, errr… We have a great deal on eight of Ernest Hemingway’s books.
This is a great opportunity for you to finally read one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. But, let me be clear, stocks are limited. These prices will not last. Get in now.
Paris in the twenties: Pernod, parties and expatriate Americans, loose-living on money from home.
Jake is wildly in love with Brett Ashley, aristocratic and irresistibly beautiful, but with an abandoned, sensuous nature that she cannot change. When the couple drifts to Spain to the dazzle of the fiesta and the heady atmosphere of the bullfight, their affair is strained by new passions, new jealousies, and Jake must finally learn that he will never possess the woman he loves.
BBGuru: This book has the power to awaken within you passions and dreams you thought were long dead. Not only will you think differently about your life, you will think differently about what and consequently, who, is important in your life.
For some, this book will become the catalyst for great change in their lives, for others it will be an encouragement to continue living the good life to the full.
Click here to buy FIESTA Retail Price: $19.95 Booktopia Price: $13.95 SAVE 30%
The War is just over. In Venice, a city elaborately and affectionately described, Richard Cantrell, an American colonel, falls passionately in love with Renata, a young Italian countess who has ‘a profile that could break your or anyone else’s heart’.
Cantrell is embittered, war-scarred, old enough to be Renata’s father but is overwhelmed by the selflessness and freshness of the love she is offering. But this is no fairy tale. The fighting may be ended, but the wounds of war have not yet healed. And for some, the longed-for peace has come too late.
BBGuru: Hemingway has captured the essence of what it means to age – the gains and the losses, and the conflict of mind and body, of youth and age, wisdom and folly. This is a quick read, with much dialogue, full of muted colour and stifled energy. There is a truth in this novel which cannot be denied, even though some will try, as it is a difficult one to accept.
Click here to buy Across The River And Into The Trees Retail Price: $21.95 Booktopia Price: $14.95 SAVE 32%
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About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.