Excerpt from Hemingway's Boat by Paul Hendrickson, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Hemingway's Boat

Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961

by Paul Hendrickson

Hemingway's Boat by Paul Hendrickson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2011, 544 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2012, 544 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Hemingway's momentary high spirits in early April 1934 must have had at least two prongs: he was back from his excellent safari adventure; and now, before heading home by train to Florida, he hoped to go to a Brooklyn boatyard and put in an order for his own longed-for fishing machine. And yet, what his letters, cojoined with verifiable facts of his life just then, suggest is that what might have seemed so clear in a photograph and in what he told some shipside reporters didn't nearly reflect what Hemingway was generally feeling inside. Every good photograph has a secret, a critic named Mark Stevens once wrote: "Something mysteriously and tantalizingly withheld, even when the world seems laid out as plainly as a corpse upon a table."

One verifiable truth is that the monarch of American letters had been riding through rough critical seas for the last few years - and much more rough going was up ahead. Somehow, nothing seemed quite as locked as it once did, and that included owning the reviewers. Not quite a year earlier - on June 13, 1933 - the author for whom things had once seemed to come so effortlessly had written to his book editor: "I am tempted never to publish another damned thing. The swine arent worth writing for. I swear to Christ they're not. Every phase of the whole racket is so disgusting that it makes you feel like vomiting._._._. And it is a commonplace that I lack confidence that I am a man - What shit - And I'm supposed to go around with your good friends spreading that behind my back - And they imagine they will get away with it." He'd been referring specifically in this instance to his former friend Max Eastman (a fellow Scribners author), who'd just written a half-joking and belated review of Death in the Afternoon for The New Republic titled "Bull in the Afternoon." The Hemingway style, Eastman said, was that "of wearing false hair on the chest." In Hemingway's reading, and in the reading of some of his close friends, the piece wasn't trying to be humorous at all but rather was making overt suggestions to the effect that Hemingway must feel sexually inadequate. Well, he'd break Eastman's jaw the next time he saw him, and sell tickets to the event.

One way to read Ernest Hemingway's life is through the phenomenon of remarkable first luck. He'd become an international literary figure, specifically as a novelist, so quickly - in the second half of the 1920s, less than a decade from when he'd started out. He'd started out with stories - actually, sometimes just intensely felt imagistic fragments of stories.

Excerpted from Hemingway's Boat by Paul Hendrickson. Copyright © 2011 by Paul Hendrickson. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Pachinko
    Pachinko
    by Min Jin Lee
    Pachinko has one of the best opening lines I've encountered in some time: "History has failed us, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Summer Before the War
    by Helen Simonson
    Set on the cusp of World War I, The Summer Before the War exudes strength and spirit as a small town...
  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Sellout
by Paul Beatty

The first book by an American author to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    I See You
    by Clare Mackintosh

    A dark and compelling thriller about an everyday woman trapped in the confines of her everyday world.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    A Piece of the World
    by Christina Baker Kline

    A stunning novel of friendship, passion, and art from the #1 bestselling author of Orphan Train.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.