HEMINGWAY IN LOVE

A E Hotchner

In June of 1961, A.E. Hotchner visited an old friend in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital. It would be the last time they spoke: a few weeks later, Ernest Hemingway was released home, where he took his own life. Their final conversation was also the final installment in a story whose telling Hemingway had spread over nearly a decade.

In characteristically pragmatic terms, Hemingway divulged to Hotchner the details of the affair that destroyed his first marriage: the truth of his romantic life in Paris and how he lost Hadley,the real part of each literary woman he'd later create and the great love he spent the rest of his life seeking.

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In June of 1961, A.E. Hotchner visited an old friend in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital. It would be the last time they spoke: a few weeks later, Ernest Hemingway was released home, where he took his own life. Their final conversation was also the final installment in a story whose telling Hemingway had spread over nearly a decade.

In characteristically pragmatic terms, Hemingway divulged to Hotchner the details of the affair that destroyed his first marriage: the truth of his romantic life in Paris and how he lost Hadley,the real part of each literary woman he'd later create and the great love he spent the rest of his life seeking. And he told of the mischief that made him a legend: of impotence cured in a house of God; of a plane crash in the African bush, from which he stumbled with a bunch of bananas and a bottle of gin in hand; of F. Scott Fitzgerald dispensing romantic advice; of midnight champagne with Josephine Baker; of adventure, human error, and life after lost love. This is Hemingway as few have known him: humble, thoughtful, and full of regret.

To protect the feelings of Ernest's wife, Mary – also a close friend – Hotch kept the conversations to himself for decades. Now he tells the story as Hemingway told it to him. Hemingway in Love puts you in the room with the master as he remembers the definitive years that set the course for the rest of his life and dogged him until the end of his days.

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  • St. Martin's Press
  • Hardcover
  • October 2015
  • 192 Pages
  • 9781250077486

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About A E Hotchner

A.E. ?Hotchner is a life-long writer and the author of seventeen books, among them O.J. in the Morning, G & T at Night and Papa Hemingway, a critically acclaimed 1966 memoir of his thirteen-year friendship with Ernest Hemingway. Hotchner's memoir, King of the Hill, was adapted into a film by Steven Soderbergh. In addition to his writing career, Hotchner is co-founder, along with Paul Newman, of Newman's Own foods. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and his indispensable parrot, Ernie.

Praise

A. E. Hotchner is a natural storyteller, and it has been our good fortune that among his friends and acquaintances are bullfighters, glamorous women, talented actors, painters, poets, and interesting poseurs – people who attract and enlighten readers. Hemingway in Love is the crowning achievement in Hotchner's lifetime study of Hemingway, and I admire it immensely.” —Gay Talese

The first complete understanding of the writer as a man…an important book.”Library Journal (starred review)

A portrait of triumphant highs, melancholic lows, and the pervading tone of the subject's generation—a human being's love lost.”

—Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

Hotchner has a deep love and respect for Hemingway, having come to see him as a father figure. Do you think that Hotchner’s reverence for his mentor renders his assessment of “Papa” overly preferential, and in what ways?

Or do you think that his confidante relationship to Hemingway offered him rare, even unique insight into a man popular culture has typecast in a role that didn’t really fit?

Hotchner speaks about the ways in which Hemingway shaped his life and fledgling career during their thirteen years of friendship. In what ways do you think Hotchner affected and/or influenced Hemingway’s life?

Hemingway recalls his memorable associations with other writers during his Paris years, and after. Do any of Hemingway’s friendships with writers—such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce, for example—seem comparable to his own relationship with Hotchner? In what ways? How do you think the writers influenced one another, and where do we see that reflected in their—and specifically, in Hemingway’s and Hotchner’s—respective work?

Many people claim to know Ernest Hemingway based on his books and on his public persona. How does Hotchner’s memoir challenge or, better yet, expand your perception of Hemingway as a writer and Hemingway as a person? Was anything that you learned about him in this book surprising to you?

Was anything that Hemingway divulged to Hotchner surprising to you? How did it challenge your ideas about him?

What are your thoughts on the relationships Hemingway had with the women in his life?

Hotchner took the responsibility of compiling all of Hemingway’s stories and built this narrative from them. Although Hemingway in Love is labeled a memoir, it’s Hemingway—not Hotchner—who dominates the storyline, with Hotchner stepping into the background as the self-described custodian of his mentor’s last story. What do you make of this method of storytelling—should we take Hotchner’s presentation of Hemingway’s confessions as an objective representation of the conversations as they unfolded, or should we account for the tendency of human memory to edit itself, so that we remember things the way we want to remember them, rather than the way they were. And to what degree do you think memory’s tendency to err adds to (or detracts from) the memorial nature of the book?

Hemingway was and is an imposing and enigmatic literary and cultural figure. How do you think our modern connotation for the name Hemingway colors our ability to take Hotchner’s representation of the writer in Hemingway in Love?

Hotchner’s memoir details Hemingway’s major romantic relationships and entanglements. Hadley Richardson clearly emerges as the true love of Hemingway’s life, and although her remorse was less public than her first husband’s, it seems that—to a lesser degree—Hadley saw Ernest the same way. Though Hemingway and Richardson were quick to divorce when they were young, what do you think it was about Richardson that left such an impression on Hemingway? Or, do you think his feelings were primarily nostalgic in nature?