cover image One True Sentence: Writers & Readers on Hemingway’s Art

One True Sentence: Writers & Readers on Hemingway’s Art

Edited by Mark Cirino and Michael Von Cannon. Godine, $26.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-56792-713-9

Thirty-eight writers reflect on Ernest Hemingway’s advice that “all you have to do is write one true sentence” in this revelatory compendium brought together by Cirino (Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action) and Von Cannon (Hemingway Letters Project), host and producer of the One True Podcast podcast. Each contributor picks and discusses one sentence from the novelist’s work: Sherman Alexie’s choice, from “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” is “We all take a beating every day, you know, one way or another.” The line, he reflects “rings so clearly to me on a personal level, the way I grew up.” For Gail Sinclair, it’s a winding sentence from the opening chapter of A Farewell to Arms, which he writes brilliantly sets the stage for the book to come. Each chapter includes an interview between the editors and the contributor about their relationship with Hemingway’s work. The varied sentences on offer create a rewarding tapestry of Hemingway’s work and belie the idea that he wrote nothing but short, stripped-down prose. The premise may be simple, but readers are likely to come away with a deepened understanding of—and even awe at—Hemingway’s vast talent. (July)