STARRED REVIEW
November 2015

A writer’s regret

By A.E. Hotchner
Review by
A.E. Hotchner’s Hemingway in Love is a poignant postscript to A Moveable Feast, particularly to Hemingway’s bittersweet last chapter. Hotchner, now 95, was Hemingway’s younger friend and Boswell, notebook at the ready, accompanying Papa to all the iconic haunts: Venice, Paris, Pamplona, Key West. He wrote a full biography of his mentor soon after Hemingway’s suicide. In this late memoir, Hotchner wants finally to give Hemingway his say about his one true love: Hadley, his first wife, the Paris wife.
Share this Article:

As the popularity of the movie Midnight in Paris demonstrated, tales of the 1920s Lost Generation—Scott, Zelda and the gang—have an enduring appeal. That “lost generation” nickname was first used by Ernest Hemingway, and his early novels and posthumously published memoir, A Moveable Feast, are among its best depictions.

A.E. Hotchner’s Hemingway in Love is a poignant postscript to A Moveable Feast, particularly to Hemingway’s bittersweet last chapter. Hotchner, now 95, was Hemingway’s younger friend and Boswell, notebook at the ready, accompanying Papa to all the iconic haunts: Venice, Paris, Pamplona, Key West. He wrote a full biography of his mentor soon after Hemingway’s suicide. In this late memoir, Hotchner wants finally to give Hemingway his say about his one true love: Hadley, his first wife, the Paris wife.

This book is Hotchner’s riposte to critics who believe the first edition of A Moveable Feast was overedited by Hemingway’s fourth wife, Mary, in a way that was unfair to wife no. 2, Pauline. Quite the contrary, Hotchner says. In private conversation, Hemingway said that leaving Hadley for Pauline was the worst decision of his life, and had turned him in the wrong direction, as an artist and a man.

The outlines of the story are familiar, but Hotchner provides new detail, including the wrenching “100 days” that Hadley insisted on as a trial separation. During that miserable time, Hemingway lost many of his Paris friends, who to his apparent surprise hadn’t liked being turned into fictional characters. 

This is a book of elegiac charm, about a great writer’s regrets. It’s framed at beginning and end by Hotchner’s heartbreaking visit to his close friend in a psychiatric hospital, not long before he shot himself. Hotchner likes to think he’s now with Hadley.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Hemingway in Love

Hemingway in Love

By A.E. Hotchner
St. Martin's
ISBN 9781250077486

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.