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.
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