Key West, 1936. Headstrong, accomplished journalist Martha Gellhorn is confident with words but less so with men when she meets disheveled literary titan Ernest Hemingway in a dive bar. Their friendship—forged over writing, talk, and family dinners—flourishes into something undeniable in Madrid while they’re covering the Spanish Civil War.
Martha reveres him. The very married Hemingway is taken with Martha—her beauty, her ambition, and her fearless spirit. And as Hemingway tells her, the most powerful love stories are always set against the fury of war. The risks are so much greater. They’re made for each other.
With their romance unfolding as they travel the globe, Martha establishes herself as one of the world’s foremost war correspondents, and Hemingway begins the novel that will win him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beautiful Exiles is a stirring story of lovers and rivals, of the breathless attraction to power and fame, and of one woman—ahead of her time—claiming her own identity from the wreckage of love.
Well that's what it says on Amazon...
I find historical fiction an interesting concept. It's more challenging when the characters are famous and where so much has been written about them. This novel is based on the events as we know them, but how much is fiction and how much is fact? Gellhorn comes across as a women who respects Hemmingway as an author, likes him as a man (sometimes), but is not sure if she loves him. Hemingway is presented as an author who knows his own worth, but is fragile as a man (it's all a front). He is the weak character here, the flawed genius. The novel is written in the first person and told by Martha Gellhorn so we are presented with her take on their brief relationship. The story told is from their first meeting to their divorce, the years 1936 to 1944.
As an exploration of a relationship that was perhaps always going to fail, it's very good. As an encouragement to read some Martha Gellhorn, well I'm convinced.
My main criticism? It reads a but too much like Hemingway in places. Especially the conversations with him. Did he really speak the way he wrote?
Worth a try.
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway tells the story of Harry Morgan, an erstwhile deep sea charter boat captain, who turns to smuggling various contraband when his fishing business dries up during the depression. It is told in 3 sections titled spring, fall and winter, each detailing events of Harry’s downward spiral.
This was a mixed bag for me. The story itself was interesting, but Harry, a murderous bigot as well as a man trying to take care of his family, was not a sympathetic character. And it really bounces around in the third section, bringing in a lot of characters, many of which only get a page or two. But those brief sketches were well done(well, the men were; the women never seemed flesh and blood), even though I have no idea what part most of them played in the book.
Overall I’m glad I read this. But if it had been my first Hemingway I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been my last.
A tale of love during the First World War. The narrator is an ambulance officer in the Italian army who falls in love with an English nurse and, while he recovering from an injury caused by a shell, their relationship develops.
This is a simple tale well told with some insights into war and love and is marvelously of its time.