cover image Cockeyed Happy: Ernest Hemingway’s Wyoming Summers with Pauline

Cockeyed Happy: Ernest Hemingway’s Wyoming Summers with Pauline

Darla Worden. Chicago Review, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-64160-367-6

Worden, editor in chief of Mountain Living magazine, sheds light on Ernest Hemingway’s relationship with Pauline Pfeiffer, who Worden calls “the invisible wife,” in her immersive debut. Worden “drew on their correspondence to re-create their story in their words,” she writes, and opens in 1928, a year after the couple married, with Hemingway as an adventurer and Pfeiffer as a woman who didn’t want to change his ways. Hemingway was fond of Pfeiffer’s wealth and career at Vogue, though her life became defined by her status as Hemingway’s wife, and by the late 1930s the relationship began to erode as Hemingway moved on to a new relationship with another young journalist. Though the focus is on Hemingway’s interactions with women, Worden also surveys his reaction to reviews (when To Have and Have Not was released, he “knew” critics would dislike that he was “snooty”), his penchant for writing about Pfeiffer’s less attractive traits (as in his story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” about a bickering couple ), and his love of hunting. Worden interjects some surprising asides (such as a list of “What Ernest Loved About Pauline”), and an “Author’s Method” note explaining her technique rounds things out. For readers interested in a lesser-known aspect of Hemingway’s life, this is worth a look. (Sept.)