Friday, July 1, 2016

The Romantic Notion of Hemingway

Everybody Behaves Badly – The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises – Lesley M. M. Blume (Houghton Miflin Harcourt)

To me, there has always been a sort of romantic notion about writer Ernest Hemingway and his mater works. It seems to have been spawned by his larger than life approach to life; throwing himself headlong into dangerous liaisons with war, women, alcohol and pretty much life itself. All the while he scribbled and banged out page after page of things we as readers finally got around to not getting enough of.

In Everybody Behaves Badly – The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises, journalist, author and historian Lesley M. M. Blume, attempts to lift the shroud of not so much mystery, but more of the persona that surrounds Hemingway, by delving deep into the sights, sounds, settings and characters that he interacted with at the time of his authoring of that legendary book.

Blume reveals the layers of the tempest that swirled around Hemingway and his struggles to find the voice he would use throughout the book. She paints a clear picture of how those around him at the time ended up being part and parcel of the captivating tale he would eventually weave. While I admit to having never been caught up in the whirlwind of Hemingway’s saga, Blume manages to cut close to the bone and deliver a story that has inspired me to seek out Hemingway’s books for another read.

Blume not only constructs an intriguing tale of Hemingway, she managed to paint a vivid picture of the era and the lifestyle of the denizens that where active participants in the fray. In the process she delivers what is among my favorite non-fiction reads thus far this year.

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