The death of Ernest Hemingway

Photo Ernest & Mary Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway (1899 -1961) was one of the most famous of all American authors. His style was minimalist, understated and direct, and had a huge influence on 20th century literature. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. His most famous novels are: For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea. When he was 18 he worked briefly as a journalist before enlisting as an ambulance driver in World War 1. In 1918 he was seriously wounded and returned to America in early 1919. He felt isolated, but got some journalistic work with the Toronto Star. He moved to Chicago in 1920 while still writing for the Star. In 1922 he married the first of four wives, Hadley Richardson. They moved to Paris where he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star. Hemingway became involved with modernist writers and artists of Gertrude Stein’s circle. Stein became Hemingway’s mentor, introducing him to the expatriate artists and writers of the Montparnasse Quarter, where Hemingway met writers such as James Joyce and Ezra Pound. In 1937 Hemingway agreed to report on the Spanish Civil War for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Journalist… Continue reading

The Eve of Destruction

THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION is a novel about America edging toward nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It would be a war that might kill hundreds of millions of people and poison the atmosphere for fifty years. In October 1962, American spy planes photographed missiles loaded with nuclear warheads in Cuba. The Soviet Union was installing the missiles, and they could reach targets in the USA within minutes. President Kennedy was trying to find a way out of the Cuban Missile Crisis without recourse to war. The US armed forces were confident about attacking the Soviet Union in one all-out nuclear war, certain they would win. President John Kennedy was doubtful about their advice and motives, cautious after they told him similar gung-ho things about the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. The Eve of Destruction is the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  EXTRACT  Luke could hear the roar of the huge printing presses in the background. He was sitting opposite Walt who smiled delightedly, unable to understand what this was about. Luke listened to the sound and smell of the printing, he imagined the newspapers whizzing down to the collection point to be bundled; he could smell the… Continue reading

– Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult –

  This is the first Jodi Picoult novel I have read. It will not be the last, for I found it interesting, informative, and totally absorbing. Jodi Picoult has been prolific, writing over twenty novels during the past twenty years. Not flimsy bodice rippers, but real novels. Leaving Time required an extensive gathering of information to give a solid background of support to the characters. The story is set in both Africa and America, often in elephant sanctuary parks. Most people — myself included — do not know much about elephants apart from the obvious things. In this novel, there is a great deal about elephants; factual information, not so much about their physical attributes, but about their psychology; their grieving for dead calves, their memories of events, and their individual characters. Long before the end of the novel, you will come to be fascinated by the life and character of elephants. The basis of the novel is not about elephants, but about a 13-year-old girl’s search for her mother who abandoned her when she was a three-year-old child. The girl, Jenna, has decided that she will track down her mother, believing her to still be alive, and believing that… Continue reading