Hemingway Lives! Why Reading Ernest Hemingway Matters Today

Clancy Sigal. OR (www.orbooks.com), $18 (238p) ISBN 978-1-939293-17-6
Screenwriter and author Clancy Sigal explores Ernest Hemingway's life, work, and place in the always evolving modern literary canon. He discusses the author's appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt's brand of rugged masculinity while growing up "in a house brimming with female energy" and his hostility towards his progressive mother. Sigal defends Hemingway against charges of misogyny, noting some of his compelling female characters like Margot Macomber, "a woman under assault in a culture of male chauvinism" and the "defiantly promiscuous" Lady Brett Ashley. His treatment of his four wives, however, tells a different story. Sigal explores Hemingway's influencers including Pete Wellington at Kansas City Star and Gertrude Stein as well as his major themes like the disillusionment of war and the natural world as a place of healing and sudden violence. He discusses the autobiographical nature of A Farewell to Arms, recalling the author's time as a Red Cross ambulance driver as well as the 24 short stories featuring Nick Adams, Hemingway's most faithful proxy. Sigal is critical of The Old Man and the Sea, calling it "soft and sentimental", while praising the less popular To Have and Have Not as an example of the author "evolving toward serious social criticism." This book is a celebration of Hemingway's oeuvre by a lifelong devoted admirer and a valuable piece of interpretive criticism. Agent: Sam Stoloff, Frances Goldin Literary Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
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