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Papa Hemingway Paperback – January 20, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 56 customer reviews

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Paperback, January 20, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First published in 1966, this adulatory memoir made news by revealing that Ernest Hemingway's 1961 death was a suicide. It also provided the mythmaking, Nobel Prize-winning author with an opportunity to promulgate his preferred public persona from beyond the grave. Chronicling their friendship over the final 14 years of Hemingway's life, A.E. Hotchner vividly captured the writer's appeal as a man and his genius as a storyteller in extensive direct quotes. He draws from contemporary notes, tape recordings, and (he reveals in the foreword to this edition published for the Hemingway centennial) disguised excerpts from personal letters that Hemingway's widow, Mary, refused him permission to use. In conversation, Hemingway sounds like one of his own fictional heroes: terse, witty, profane, manly. Hotchner, in his mid-20s when they first met in 1948 and, he freely admits, "struck with an affliction common to my generation: Hemingway Awe," seldom evaluates either the veracity of or the motivations behind the writer's anecdotes. He makes no claim to be objective, which adds to the emotional force of the painful final chapters showing a desolate, depressed Hemingway convinced he could no longer write. By no means the whole truth, Hotchner's loving portrait shows Hemingway to readers as he wanted to be seen and as his most ardent admirers saw him. --Wendy Smith

From Library Journal

Another portrait of Hemingway to coincide with July's centennial celebration. Hotchner was Ernesto's close pal for the last dozen or so years of his life and as such is able to offer a good deal of firsthand information and anecdotes, although his obvious admiration for the great writer somewhat softens his memories. Nonetheless, this volume is a standard, made all the better by the inclusion of extra photographs and a new introduction by the author. A must have.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; The Hemingway centennial Edition edition (January 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786705922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786705924
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,813,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Anything I say here will simply detract from this wonderful book, so I will keep it short. I've read a number of Hemingway biographies, but this is unquestionably the best. Hotchner only new Ernest for approximately the last 14 years of his life, so if you're looking for a comprehensive biography, try elsewhere (I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending any of the other Hemingway bios I've read). What Hotchner can give us is a portrait of Papa (Hemingway) from the perspective of a very close and dear friend (Hotchner hunted and travelled with Papa, helped edit and publish his books and essays, and even named A Moveable Feast). And Hotchner is no fool. He knows that Hemingway had a propensity towards exaggeration, and seems to have a pretty good B.S. detector.
If you want all the facts, and want to know everything Hemingway ever did, read one of the opuses written by a college professor who got all of his or her information third-hand. If you want to know what Hemingway the man was like, read this book.
After finishing, I think it is fair to say that Hemingway's most tragic character turned out to be himself. Read this book.
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Format: Paperback
It by sheer chance I got this book while I was in San Jose,CA. I read the entire book in 2 days. It gave me so much information about the biographical details, mental make up and lonliness of a great author at the fag end of his life. I reread Hemingway's novels after this which gave me an entirely new insight into the writer's mind as well. The final days of Hemingway are touchingly elaborated by the author. I will certainly recommend this book to any one interested in studying Hemingway.
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Format: Paperback
Decades after publication, this book maintains its freshness and rightfully takes a seat as a classic literary memoir. Hotchner, a dabbler in TV and magazines without literary pretensions, keeps his eyes, ears and nose open and delivers the best portrait from life of this complex writer which exists.

Forget the criticisms about technical innaccuracies or adulatory tone; it is part of the game that the tutor, Hemingway himself, taught this tyro. Any lingering doubts can be resolved by looking at Hemingway's own Moveable Feast from this period. The name of Hemingway's game is creating literature, not scholarship or journalism.

The writer is engaged in the early 1950s and followed to his bitter end. Hotchner makes you feel the sadness and loss. Imperfections, foibles, and silliness are all there -- also some cool wisdom. And you can't match the scenery -- Venice, Spain, Cuba, Montana. Obviously a portrait of this clarity is going to cause contoversy and hurt feelings; those maligned have spoken in their own memoirs which of course are well worth reading, too, even the brittle but brave Mary -- Hemingway's fourth wife who became Hotchner's fully armed foe. No matter: she is memorably on these pages too -- immortalized as the tough prickly pickle she was.

It finally does not matter what you think of Hemingway or any of these people. "Getting it right and true" was Hemingway's code, so that the reader feels as if he were there and remembers it all down to the weather and the smells. The result is literature. The unlikely little Hotchner succeeded on Hemingway's own terms, delivering a searingly human portrait that the writer would never have been capable of himself, but certainly would have been forced by his own standards to approve.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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