lunedì, febbraio 25, 2019

Inspired Traveller's Guides: Literary Places by Sara Baxter

Inspired Traveller's Guides: Literary Places by Sara Baxter
published by Quarto is the book for you, if you search for an original approach with the most stunning places of literature seen and lived with the eyes of the authors taken in examination.

Readers will visit thanks to full-page color illustrations Central Park seen through the eyes of J.D. Salinger or the places of Don Quixote's La Mancha, the wild Yorkshire where Cathy and Heathcliff lived their tormented love, or Victor Hugo's Paris without forgetting Florence described in A Room with a View by EM Forster but also the town that inspired the touching book by Harper Lee: To Kill a Mocking Bird.
I love John Steinbeck and for all the estimators, I can tell you that there is also his presence, like also the one of Mark Twain, with a location of Huckleberry Finn for complexively twenty-five wonderful, romantic, wild locations that, during these centuries or decades have meant for readers their literary life.
It's a book this one that wants to let you fall in love again and again for these literary places, representing, speaking,communicating, giving voice again at masterpieces of literature beloved by million of readers.

It's a book I would suggest, for originality also to your children. Sometimes a different approach, more original, in particular when children don't want to read, can be helpful and can stimulate them.

Everything start from curiosity. Trravels are a powerful suggestion :-) for searching for a book.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Quarto for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori


domenica, febbraio 24, 2019

Mother Winter by Sophia Shamliyev

A complicated, straining existence, and a memoire, moving, beautiful sometimes sad and "raw." In this way can be synthetized the first book by Sophia Shamliyev
Mother Winter published by Simon & Schuster a publishing house with an incredible, sofisticated touch and devotion for memoires.

This book is an intimate, intricate and naked description of Sophia's existence, in its absurdities, in its obstacles, in its victories.
It is written going deep; a writing-style dense of meanings for capturing the obscurity and mystery that sometimes life present us.

It's also an historical voyage, this one, with vivid descriptions of Soviet Russia, the country where the author was born in and knew so well before to leaving it with his dad; customs and traditions, folklore and magic.

Sophia remembers that Russians are followers of numerology, tea leaf readings, evil eye spells, sharing some of the most important superstitions. "If you forget something inside when you're already out the door you must look at yourself in the mirror upon reentry. This way you make it back home in one place."

It's not simple to growing up, to become adults: less the existence of a baby is stressed, more he/she will become an happy adult.

Sometimes life is different; it wants to add pain, asperity starting in the first phase of the existence. It's unfair, but life doesn't notice it.

Of course it happens because of various factors. In the case of Sophia,  the problem was an alcholic mother.  

Not everyone pick up the parents that they would want the most for growing up; the ones with which to become adults.
It's a luxury that can't be choosen because parents should be two.
In the case of Sophia, the story was more complicated.

She tells that there were people who wanted to adopt her like her granny Galina wanted to do and one day: "Instead of taking me to court....She and my dad sat on opposite sides of our living room and asked me to walk to the one I would choose to live with if I could."

I felt for her the dilaniating feeling of a kid who had to choose the best parent, the best person in grade of giving her the best education and love, tenderness, friendship, severity, serenity. It's an abnormality and it's unfair; this choice remains as you will read for all the life, lived  vividly. Confusion of course, will be great in a kid, because it's a story of love. Who should a kid love more? Her granny? Her dad? Who should a kid trust more? Why excluding someone? Why a choice?

Sophia in this sense remembers a phrase by Gertrude Stein: "There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

But...It's a privilege, although dilaniating, to be in grade to choose where and with whom to spend the existence.

I found interesting the traditions about the dead ones, and how Russians try to re-capture the spirit of the person passed away so that he/she can continues to stay close to them.

In the Soviet Russia there wasn't Christmas but Sofia's family prepared a Christmas's Tree opening the gifts with the arrival of the New Year. Sophia remembers that her dad in the old communist country that was Russia didn't never mention her mother and God.

Babies must be loved. The arrival of Sophia hasn't been so loved.
In fact while she was pregnant, the mother of Sophia, told to the husband that she was too weak for an abortion. In the Soviet Union there weren't anesthetics and an abortion wasn't a good practice at all. Sophia writes that her dad "Reluctantly agreed to let her keep me."

Sophia's dad enjoyed to spend time with her. Sophia remembers that her father accompanied her to museums, ballets, and opera every weekend although the absence of the mother was felt tremendously by Sophia. She writes at some point that "...Every library became my foster home and every book a coded path to grappling with the absent woman who never actually raised me."

Once grown up the choice of Sophia will be the one of experiencing in first person what it means to be a mother. Sophia, who hadn't had a mother, who would have wanted so badly to be hugged by her mother for once, became a mother, hugging and loving her children.
Anais Nin returns various times in the book; at first because of her hot relationship with Henry Miller; later because she sold pornographic stories to earning some money for an abortion, deciding of not having children.
Nin is in the mind of Sophia, because she lost two babies describing in detail what happened and her sensations.

Questions regarding the future of her children are many, while, persists in the existence of Sophia this biggest hole: that mother she hasn't  had.
This one will be a reason for mourning for what she hasn't had although Sophia does it with intellectual profoundity, using precious words, sofisticated phrases and lines, defining her feelings with passion.

The author describes herself as a person  "Without solid plans. I live too far away. An abandoner. A coward. An infidel."

Sophia tells that common couples in general wants to see people part of the existence of the other one; places where their partner grew up. So, with her boyfriend, she went to Russia, for later cheating him and marrying the man with which she would have had two children.
The first baby was born on 12/12/12 she tells. A magical day.

Sophia adds she believes in fear and she started to drive just at 27 and thanks to her husband.

Then memories will focus on her children and a visit at a common house's friend.
Sophia talks of her children, and the other girlfriend does the same, later offering her something to eat. High cholesterol, Sophia accepts fruits; it cleans veins. Sophia writes about tooth problems while she was waiting Franny, and at some point writes: "I don't believe we belong to each other the way my father does, but I am in the business of making the same polarities of magnets touch without repelling; I'm in the real of the unbelievable."


Speaking about abuses, once Sophia has had a relationship with an abused boy. It's common that ex-children abused don't go crazy for sex.
Sophia didn't laugh when her boyfriend told her the horror. She listened, she helped him to recover and later convinced him of having some sex together. Sophia wrote: "He confessed that maybe he can't, but really really really he wants to..."

Another important thematic touched by this book is what it means to  be Jewish. For some Jewish is a real sin marrying a Christian but Sophia did it and tells that baptized both her children.
Who knows, she asks to herself, if she is becoming like her mother?

Splendid I love this book because of the sincerity of the author. An author who reveals a lot; she is frank regarding her feelings, her sentiments, for her family, her country, Russia, understanding also that the phantom of her mother, that mother she hasn't never had, influenced her life. Fortunately Sophia is a mother. A  wonderful one I guess, at the end in peace also with her own mother!
The end of this book will let you cry a lot.

Highly recommended.

I thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori

sabato, febbraio 23, 2019

Paradise Lost A life of F.Scott Fitzgerald by David S. Brown

"I'm sick of a system where the richest gets the most beautiful girl if he wants her, where the artist without an income has to sell his talents to a button manifacturer. Even if I had no talents I'd not be content to work ten years, condemned either to celibacy or a furtive indulgence, to give some man's son an automobile."

This one is the main idea expressed by one of F.Scott Fitzgerald's characters, Amory and that synthetizes the idea that the beloved writer had about money.

This new, wonderful biography published by Harvard Press  Paradise Lost A life of F.Scott Fitzgerald by David S. Brown
 is fascinating.
I couldn't put this book down and I read it in one day.

A part of the parents of Fitzgerald were born and raised in the South of the USA and they were of Irish origins. Catholic, they made fortune, and a story told by everyone tells that it was not a real declaration of love from a man in love the one experienced by the future mother of Francis, Mollie, no.
She was not very well seen; she was in her thirties and people thought that she would have remained alone;  but one day there was a long chat with a guy, and later the declaration that this man would have married her. To Mollie's point of view.
Edward, the future dad of Francis, at that times manners were different, couldn't say no.

Francis was not the first child of the Fitzgeralds. Not only: he was born just after that the couple had lost their beloved daughters, a pain described by his dad as immense, absolute, devastating.

Surely, little Francis suffered also because of the product of a joy "inflicted" by his arrival; the devastation for the loss remained in the memory of his parents and I am sure in the one of this kid.

Scott Fitzgerald has never suffered of economic problems and studied in the best schools of the USA.
St. Paul Academy, then the prep school of Newman where he discovered with more clarity his talent for writing and then the final choices thanks to the departure of a relative and a good amount of money arrived to his parents: Princeton.

In 1915 a crucial encounter, the one with another student, Ginevra King. Ginevra was the daughter of a banker and Francis lost his head for her. The two saw each other for more or less two years when they decided to ending their relationship.

Later Ginevra wrote him a letter where she communicated she would have married a much more richer man than him and Scott would have replied: "Doesn't it make you sigh with relief to be settled and think of all the men you escaped marrying?"

Francis Scott decided to settle down although Ginevra remained in his thoughts, books, characters, and one of his fixations during the years.

Zelda Sayre, a Southerner bell, was the girl he met one day to Montgomery and the one he would have married with a certain rapidity (see at the voice: Ginevra.)

The 1900s and the entrance in that new century was characterized according to the sensibility of Francis Scott Fitzgerald in his writings, by the end of the Victorian Age experienced by his parents and relatives and of all the beauty values that characterized that age. This new historical moment was a mixture of sadness because of the war, the first world war conflict, told by Fitzgerald in his writings with delicacy and sensibility and a certain predatory attitude and visibility from the richest part of the USA.

If Francis Scott Fitzgerald portrayed spendidly well what it meant to the USA richness, Thornston Veblen, writer and sociologist, although born rich, although a member of the upper class would have revealed in a book I would suggest to everyone what it meant the so-called "conspicuous consumption" of the elite of the early 1900s.

A new state of things that intellectuals although rich couldn't tolerate; Fitzgerald at the same time writes the author passing through Jay Gatsby understands that "Wealth...is more than money; it is the right schools, right Manhattan telephone exchanges, and right marriages."

Being rich, like being poor is, after all, a system.

But...
Was Fitzgerald just so critical about the USA?
No, Fitzgerald, reassures the author, loved the USA because more than the American Dream, so the personal realization, there was also an unique different vision of world, things; different expectations and that freedom that somewhere else maybe wouldn't never have been possible.
Sure, what he noticed in his novel Fitzgerald, the USA was a nation "In danger of losing its soul."

Francis Scott Fitzgerald found in Maxwell Perkins not only the man of Scribner, the publishing house of all his books but also a great and good friend, introduced later to Hemingway as well.
The fortune of Scott Fitzgerland was that also when magazines published short stories he was paid divinely well; he was in grade to accumulate a lot of money just with short stories.
This writer of the so-called Lost Generation didn't lose time in making a lot of money, while at the same time the first signal of alcoholism touched the existences of Zelda and Francis Scott.

For what people told, Fitzgerald could lose his state of sobriety just drinking a glass of wine.
In general when Francis Scott drunk, he did it for self-punishment, because something was wrong, because unsatisfied.
There's to say that for some writers drinking mean relaxing their mind and writing more fluently.

Alcohol didn't touch his reputation as a big author; he was acclaimed everywhere and the Fitzgeralds were requested and beloved everywhere.

Zelda suffered because of the success of her husband. When she published short stories, they didn't add her name in magazines; when her book released she was treated as a dependent, because of the high influence of the husband, agent and publishing house. Only decades later and once dead (sic!) the publishing house admitted that Zelda was "suffocated" by the importance of the husband.
Francis Scott couldn't be shadowed.

Was the couple of Francis Scott and Zelda a happy one? Well, maybe the first years, because for the rest, jealousy started to be soon a great component of the couple. Zelda became jealous of Hemingway as well, but also of a new muse of 17 years. She started to having other stories like also Francis Scott.

Shortly their marriage, with a daughter, Scottie, became a territory not too friendly.

What Francis Scott did, was to put most of the situations experienced by him on his writings; what he saw and what he perceived although his point of view was distant by the one of Edith Wharton the beloved author of The Age of Innocence.
Wharton, part of that system, she was born rich, tried all her best to give an idea of richness completely different from the one portrayed by Fitzgerald.
Once published The Great Gatbsy, politely, the big writer invited the Fitzgeralds, adding later in her journal that the experience was: "Horrible." No one know further details of what happened that day.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald lived to Paris, but not in the Left Bank as most of his friends did, but in the Right Bank, the part populated by important, rich men, enjoying a lot the French Riviera and in many other parts of the world.

The mental health of Zelda became of certain interest; after the respective horns, after a lot of violent episodes and a deep depression that left Scottie in big sadness as well, worries became many. In Zelda's family two members killed themselves and other ones coped with profound depression.
In 1932 Zelda was treated at Philipps Clinic. She didn't lose her creativity, writing Save me the Waltz. She became obsessed with ballet, followed by a Russian teacher and she became a good painter.

The first to disappear was Francis Scott Fitzgerald, in Hollywood, a place after all that he didn't like a lot in 1940 because of a heart attack. He survived the first one; the second was fatal.

Zelda died intoxicated in a hospital because of a fire many years later.

The cover of this book is wonderful. A fluid pic of Fitzgerald, speaking and inviting readers, with delicacy, in his world.
A world populated by the warm of the South of the USA, Catholicity, Minnesota, luxury, good schools, great books, important women, richness, trips, alcohol, mental illness, and a reality more complicated than not the one of the past.


Highly recommended.

I thank Harvard University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori










martedì, febbraio 19, 2019

An Improbable Pairing by Gary Dickson

Attracted by a beautiful cover and a wonderful title: An Improbable
Pairing I decided to launch myself in the reading of the first novel by Gary Dickson published by GreenLeaf Book Group Press, a publishing house with always very good titles.

The novel starts with a quote by T.S. Eliot: "Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough."by

Scott like many other young Americans sailed on August 30 1963 from New York to the ports of Le Havre and Southampton.

Scott was directed to Geneva where he would have attended the University. Although his parents considered this one an extravagant fact, it was more than sure that it would have paid before to get a law degree in a prestigious American institution.

But, what it was important for Scott Stoddard when he left the USA for Europe, was freedom. As he writes the author: "He was free: free to do whatever he wanted, free to be whomever he would be. And free from the constant supervision of his parents."

During the trip he knows two women, Millie, and the so-called Countess de Rovere. Scott falls fascinated by her. He also discovers that the countess lives close to Geneva. Scott starts to fantasize about the countess.
After some days spent to London, Scott decides to stay affording To Paris at the George V one of the most luxurious hotels of the city where he will socialize at the restaurant Epoque with some friends, at the same time enjoying the capital.

Scott leaves France by train, in a trip long six hours meeting a girl, Solange. He finds an apartment, deciding to keep most of his money "for travelling, fine clothes, gourmet dining and nightclubs."

Solange Pahlavi, back from a month in Florence where her mother has friends, mainly poets, writers and musicians living there, asks him of accompanying her at a charity event.
The event is at the house of Desiree, so-called Countess de Rovere. Scott is thrilled.
Solange understands soon that there is attraction between the two.

Scott in the while makes friendship with Marlyse Richter a student but one night, important to them, they met again the countess and Marlyse  understands the interestest of the countess for her boyfriend.
The dinner is a catastrophistic experience but later the two tries to recuparate, just apparently, the situation.
Yes, because Marlyse is under the wing of Madame Giradet, while distant from her house so, who knows what that lady discovered about Scott and the Countess...
At a certain point Marlyse asks him: "We could get engaged..."
Scott is not ready.
He is still obsessed by the Countess.
Seven year older, the Countess appears a person more experienced than him.
When the love-story starts, Scott is worried for the Countess's reputation although she reassurs him:
"How can being in love with you...A fresh face on the scene; someone tall and athletc, with manner and style- how can that hurt my reputation?"

Scott's ex girlfriend is reassured that the problem was the countess...

If you love a romantic book with beautiful locations, rich characters, elegant places, luxury, happy end, you will find this and more.

Warmly recommended.


I thank NetGalley for this ebook.

Anna Maria Polidori






domenica, febbraio 17, 2019

Avrò cura di Me, Heal Me - In Search of a Cure by Julia Buckley

Avrò cura di Me, Heal Me - In Search of a Cure by Julia Buckley
is an illuminating book published by Marsilio Editori about chronic pain and what it means following steps and advice of common medicine.

Julia was born with a great flexibility. She tells that since she was little she was in grade to do what maybe an artist in a circus would have done.

Under many aspects she appeared magical to other people, although, since little, she started to develop muscular problems and when arrived at the end of high school she felt some pain while walking.

Anyway, her life became brilliant. She became a journalist, and her connections, good and helpful, involve the USA as well.

It was during a work-day, while she was taking her cup of coffee for sipping it, that she felt that something was changed apparently forever in her body system and mainly in her right arm.

She felt that the right arm was sending flames; waves of flames.
A horrible pain she could not control.

That days of work were the first ones in this new reality, where, how nice! she travelled the world reviewing places, and food, etc. Tourism.

She ended the day at 5 o'clock, terrorized by what she was experiencing leaving the boss pretty upset, because the day was not yet complete. But, she wrote just with the left hand, because the right one suffered tremendously.

The day after the family doctor told her that yes, she needed two weeks of rest.

The first part of this book is an odissey involving a lot of chemical substances that, theoretically would have helped her. Julia visited wagons of doctors, from neurologists, psychologists; name a category. Julia has been visited by all of them while the pain didn't pass and exams, every kind of exams (this part so sad) endless.

Not only: some medicines gave her suicidiary insticts. Some doctors told her, that, no it couldn't be true, but it was, and she interrupted the
treatments. They added anti-convulsive because of course they send you in another dimension, just, you lose perception of time, time becomes endless, and you don't have anymore your life in complete  control.
Not only: Julia started to suffer of constipation.
She understood that medicines were winning, destroying her body.
No: she had to find a solution.

Julia describes what happens to the brain when there is a chronic pain situation. It is very interesting. Substantially it's the brain speaking for  the injured part of the body: it's a story of a nano-second and the brain activate that emergency-state and people feel pain. A situation must be sorted out it says the brain "emitting" pain, so that people can listen to it, taking remedy.

Terrorized by the idea of co-living with a pain horrible like this, Julia in the while lost her job, becoming a  "disable" and joining a group of other eleven people for treating chronic pain.

Theoretically all that people with chronic pain were all optimistic at the beginning, tells Julia, but at the end they were forlons,destroyed, because who followed them reassured that the situation wouldn't never have changed and what they had to do was to try to cope with the pain that they felt. For all their existence.

Julia said no.

She didn't want to live constantly with this pain and she started a trip, around the world, for trying to search for a healer.

Thinking at God and at a miracle became an obsession.

Julia was not exactly a girl particularly religious, but this condition implied that maybe the answer was not where everyone was looking at.

She started to search for a healer.

She visited a british church where there is a miraculous  water in grade of healing. The priest told her words she remembered later as well.
But Julia, thanks also to her connections and her job as reporter
went wherever you can imagine, including Lourdes and Pietrelcina.
She didn't develop a great idea of Lourdes, because of the great buiness that there is behind, to her point of view, with too much expensive masses and candles but the idea of the hospital created by San Pio in Puglia, Italia, conquered her.

Everyone working at the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza wanted by San Pio receives a book tells Julia more or less long 160 pages with all the guidelines that must be followed.

And, for what tells Julia La Casa Sollievo doesn't have the aspect of a common hospital, but a place where, realistically, there is a lot of serenity. San Pio made also miracles, but more than miracles, insists Julia maybe what it is important to do is to give attention to patients because they would better their clinical conditions.

Because there are no answers with common medicines most people use other alternative treatments, excellent or not, remedies, because just few realities, as adds Julia uses the guidelines of the hospital wanted by San Pio da Pietrelcina.
People with this state of things, will continue to search for gurus,  spiritual healers discouraged by unsatisfying answers of the common medicine.

The trip of Julia involves the USA and the locality of Joshua Tree, where she met Charmayne a charismatic lady. Maybe she didn't heal but her brain distracted by the cries of Charmayne stayed relaxed regarding the pain it constantly felt for some time.

She went in the South of the Usa, she met a sexy healer in Los Angeles, an angel believer and with him she improved a lot. She also went to Bali, and searched for the healer of Elizabeth Gilbert, (Eat, Pray, Love) but he was too old. A relative read her hand.

And, at the end of this long trip, where she tried everything, everything, Julia healed from this pain.

I did the same with my mother, when tired of common medicines, for her back pain.
I brought her by a healer who cured most of my neighbors including a lot of italian known, famous people; her back is feeling better. What I was searching in fact also in that case was for her a spiritual wellness, associated at a physical one.

Personally per two decades I suffered of a big pain because when I wore the brace it devastated my mouth, tendons, muscles and bones
without sorting out the problem: a beauty smile. Never had that one, unfortunately. Sufferance yes, a lot after the brace. I was 20 when I wore it and after that it was a constant pain.
No only: when my tonsils inflammated my doctor constricted to use some tools for seeing it, because the tongue was deviated as well.

Anyway when I went to Aprilia last April my niece called an healer specialized in manipulations, Shiatsu, for my mom. After her session, when he saw my face he immediately said me: let's sort out this problem. In less than a few seconds that pain gone, the face in asset, my tonsils  visibles!

I tried in the past with a lot of dentists, and everyone assured me my mouth was fine in that way; I said I felt pain but they said me that it wasn't a relevant pain.

Some dentists said me  that I was "too old" biologically, 40 years, for re-putting a brace and sorting out the problem. Better a bite.

At the end I sorted out the problem! Hooray! And I chew
some chewingum now, a luxury I avoided  for not inflammate a lot the muscles, but that I missed a lot. And pain is over.

Beautiful book for whoever suffering of chronic pain is in search of alternative answers.

I thank Marsilio for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori


giovedì, febbraio 14, 2019

American Maelstrom The 1968 Election and the Politics Division by Michael A.Cohen

That the past speaks strongly today,
and that facts happened also in the remote past impact current choices or decisions can be seen everyday. People are tired of the establishment, and the so-called elite, distant, cold, snob, choosing in many different countries, populists leaders, perceived as more close to them and their necessities.
In this book, American Maelstrom The 1968 Election and the Politics Division written by Michael A.Cohen columnist of the Boston Globe, a clear, erudite, profound analysis of what it meant for the USA the wild wind of 1968. It's a Before and After that crucial year.
This book offers to the reader a profound, detailed analysis of what happened during these decades, analyzing nine men/Presidents, entering in the house of Democrats and in the one of the GOP, for seeing why the USA are experiencing now a populistic wind.
As we will see it was a long process of unsatisfactions experienced by the base, voters.
Cohen is more than sure of it: the maelstrom of 1968 "continues to roil American politics."


I thank Oxford University Press for the physical copy of this book.

Anna Maria Polidori 

mercoledì, febbraio 13, 2019

Ernest Hemingway by Verna Kale

Hemingway could be killed just by...Hemingway, realistically.

It's the strong opinion by the author of this fascinating biography of the beloved American author. Written by Verna Kale: who was Hemingway?

A man, who, from his tender age, developed all his love for fishing (he captured his first fish at the age of three) and outdoor life in general thanks to the attentions of his father, another man in love for hunting, fishing and outdoor life.
The mother of Hemingway discovered soon the literary attitudes of his kid and tried all his best for encouraging little Ernest in every possible ways.

Sure his parents left him also illnesses with which he would have coped later: type 2 diabetes and difficulty in the vision; plus a dangerous bipolar and depressing condition. At that time, being the family a so-called respectable one, this topic not treated for obvious reasons.

But, also the dad of Ernest Hemingway, Clarence would have killed himself and this horrible fact caused to this sensitive boy a great negative impact.

The same destiny would have been this one for him. In his correspondence Hemingway talks openly of a possible suicide, as a sort of inevitability; sometimes just for being cuddled a bit writes Verna. 

Both the parents of Hemingway suffered of bipolarity and of course this fact impacted a lot little Ernest.

He started to be soon, a pasionario; box, fishing, hunting, he was a man of strong emotions; he also created some messes as often teenagers do.

Hemingway would have taken care of his mother Grace, although their relationship not great, forever; in a letter dated 1917 when he was injured during the first world war conflict, he asked to his mother of not touching or throwing away anything from his bedroom, desperate of not finding anymore the material once returned home.

Later he would have used his mom Grace, defining her as "All American bitch" in various characters of his books but never in a positive way.

Hemingway started to publishing short tales in the literary magazine of his school called The Tabula and also at the Trapez.

Discovering a true and genuine passion for journalism, young Ernest joined the Kansas City Star as a newspaperman.

In the newsroom he had available a typewriter and a desk. All for him. He was electrified.
The circulation of The Star was of 200.000 copies so young Ernest could start to create his good reputation in this profession.

Substantially, as I had suspected, reading his book A moveable Feast, Hemingway's structure remained incapsulated in the journalistic-style.
The Star asked at their reporters "for a strong english, short sentences; eliminate any superfluous word."

In 1917 the idea of entering in war.

In 1918 in Italy his first assignment was  to collect the dismembered remains of people killed during an explosion in a factory.

Hemingway is soon injured and will be cured in Milan. In the while he will fall in love for a nurse, American, Agnes von Kurowsky.

Once returned home, Hemigway fell a great disconnection with the past, people, realities he had touched in Europe.

Agnes understood that for Hemingway was better to return home, leaving alone Europe and its many temptations. But Hemingway later will become what Agnes had predicted and what he describes so well in The Sun Also Rises: "an expatriate obsessed by alcohol and sex, spending his time talking, not working and hanging around cafés."

Agnes remained for Hemingway, who married four wives in total, that dream never realized, maybe because the most genuine one.

Hemingway would have followed Agnes wherever he went. There are records of informations requested by Hemingway dated 1956. Agnes was a great love for this man.

Hemingway moved to Toronto where he started to work for the Daily Star and Star Weekly. He didn't like the city a lot but it was the change he was searching.

In Chicago where he moved for a while Hemingway would have met his first wife, Hadley Richardson marrying her on 1921.

Hemingway wanted to return to Italy but it was Hadley who inspired him telling him that Paris was the best nest, the best place for Americans.

There he would have met Getrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Beach.
Gertrude Stein would have encouraged him while Pound was a sort of agent for this young aspiring writer.

Sylvia Beach, owner of Shakespeare and Company told that Hemigway was "Her best customer," while Hemingway with his common sincerity told in A Moveable Feast that "In those days there was no money to buy books."
Hemingway wrote on A Moveable Feast, published in 1964 that Sylvia Beach was a great person. "There was no reason for her to trust me."
Hemingway was an avid reader in particular of  Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Candidly, Sylvia Beach admitted that, although Hemingway was a voracious reader, who taught him to write.. was Ernest Hemingway."

Hemingway had a strong character and of course it meant that he could be incompatible with certain other writers, or poets of the time.
Hemingway's works started to be published in New Orleans and Chicago.

Heavily influenced by Gertrude Stein he didn't send for a possible publication a tale about a rape, preferring to send another short tale.

But which were the thematic mainly dear to Hemingway? These ones  developed when he was to Paris and he wrote successfully "My Old Man" and "Up in Michigan"; life is a fixed race; pregnancy is a punishment; that insider knowledge a priviledge of few people.

Robert McAlmon a dear friend of Sylvia Beach having a publishing house decided to release in 300 copies a Three Stories and Ten Poems in 1923.

Sketches, vignettes, becomes part of Ernest's work for other prestigious realities.

In 1923 an abrupt choice: the one to return to work full-time at the Star. This decision hasn't never been cleared. In the while Hadley was pregnant.

It was a brief experience. Hemingway felt nostalgia for Paris, at the same time the work at the newsmagazine for various reasons not sufficiently gratifying. In Europe he had wagons of friends welcoming back him again.

Sylvia Beach put on a shelf of his bookshop as additional promotion the book published by McAlmond, Bill Bird in love for Hemingway's vignettes.
Once returned, they were three: John Hadley Nicamor "Bumby" Hemingway was born.


At the same time a big American Publishing house contacted Hemingway: Scribner for reading one of his manuscripts.

In 1925 Hemingway understands that he wants to write novels. Ready for Fiesta, he writes at The Little Review that he is uninterested to continue to write short pieces and sketches.

Although in contact with other publishing houses as Boni&Liveright, at the end Scribner had the best. Hemingway wanted a big promotion of his books; at the same time, a new friendship was cemented the one with Francis Scott Fitzgerald and a new woman at the horizon: Pauline Pfeiffer. The end of his first marriage was close.

Ernest Hemingway tried his best for keeping alive his marriage, but the passion he felt for Pauline won and although his parents pretty upset, conservative people in love for traditions, at the end the Hemingways choose for separation.

Becoming always more popular, he also "lost" some of his friends. Stein, Anderson the one at first who had helped him the most, were searching for someone else. He became a great writer thanks to to these precious friends. He could fly away.

For the first time the idea of killing himself starts to take shape in Hemingway's mind. His first wife wanted to try to see if 100 days of separation of the three, yes, she also requested also a separation of Hemingway from Pauline would have sorted out something. Or not.

While his private existence is messy, his career becomes fulgid with The Sun also Rises published in 1926 and Men Without Women released the year after.

Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan searched for collaborations with him.

What did Scribner with Hemingway was to present him all the possible freedom for experimenting new genres.

In the 1930s the publication of Death in the Afternoon; the book appeared during the Christmas's time. Thematic pretty heavy, it was not sponsored a lot and received a bad review from The New Yorker with a long polemic.

The years in Spain are characterized this time by a new entrance in scene, the one of Martha in Hemingway's life. Previously he had had a story with Jane Mason; we see Ernest as a correspondent in Spain for the Alliance.

Writing for the Esquire about the tumultuous years that would have brought at the second world war, Hemingway didn't hesitate to saying that the biggest problem experienced by the world was: Propaganda and Public Hysteria. This combination supported and wanted two dictators as Mussolini and Hitler.  
Hemingway returned to be appreciated by American readers with his novel:  For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1939.

At the same time while working at this novel ideas of a possible suicide re-appeared in his mind. He betrayed the second wife; he betrayed the first one. He felt a sensation maybe of loneliness, while for example Hadley was a very happy and cheerful wife of a journalist now.

Martha was an independent woman and the couple survived a bit because they could stay away at long.

Hemingway decidef to buy an estate to Cuba, called Finca where he will live at long.
In love for war, Hemingway worked intensily for reporting the second world war for various magazines.
It was thanks to it that Hemingway met his last wife, Mary Walsh Monks, a war correspondent for Time. They still were both married with other partners.

At the end these problems were sorted out but going on, Hemingway developed a lot of other problematic: paranoia, fixations of not being in grade to write anymore anything (a problem started when he was a young man) and irritability.
That was why during the 1940s and 1950s Hemingway didn't produce a lot.

An incident at the head experienced by Hemingway decades before, maybe was a co-cause for his suicide as well, because cronic traumatic encephalolopathy causes depression and irritability writes the author. Hemingway in his life experienced a lot of incidents, concussions.

At La Finca, although no one could meet him while he was writing, Hemingway agreed to meet a staffer of Cosmopolitan in search for a piece about the future of literature.

At the same time, Heminway will travel in Europe again ending in Venice where he would have met his final flame: Adriana Ivancich. 18 years old he became the new muse of Hemingway.
Back to Cuba after a worrying infection experienced in Europe, he started to write Across the River and Into the Trees, receiving from Scribner an uncertain reaction: thematic dear to Hemingway yes, but not the one of ageing.

If writing was going on well, Mary decided that after all someone like Adriana was not a danger. Hemingway had continously a lot of stories and flirtations; she would have remained close to him. Forever.

In 1951 the death of his mother, although Hemingway didn't attend the funeral. Also the founder of the publishing house, Mr. Scribner died suddenly and Hemingway discovers that literary critics are curious about him, his writing-style; the idea of being studied or defined annoyed him mortally.

At the same time The Old Man and the Sea was released in full but  Life Magazine, on 1952.
5 million of copies sold of Life Magazine. The biggest success for this writer, who, the year after would have sold also the movie rights.
Hemingway won the Pulitzer.

During a Safari in Africa, Hemingway seemed to fall in love for a girl of the place called Debba and the wife didn't do anything for stopping this story, keeping, writes the author, the marriage bed interesting.
For celebrating a great Christmas, Hemingway presented to his wife an air safari, but that one would have ended in a great crash. Again the head of Ernest was injured and the patient untreated well for many days.
In 1954 Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 1957 the return to Paris. A different man from the one who had lived in the french capital in the 1920s. More old, more problematic under many ways. The young and fresh boy plenty of expectations with the time left the place at the affirmed writer, at the same time plenty of  problems.

When Hemingway killed himself, his wife Mary tried her best for keeping this departure an accidental death, but people knew and in 1966 she declared that Hemingway committed suicide.
Hemingway was buried because of these doubts after all possibilistics, with a catholic funeral mass.

I read this book in an afternoon. It is written with great love, competency, and it is quick because of the passion put by the author, great Hemingway's estimator, in this book.

If you don't know well Ernest Hemingway, this book is for you, but it is for you also if you want to be introduced at his numerous books, "feeling" them with Hemingway's eyes. After all, all Ernest Hemingway's books had a strong auto-biographical touch. Passions, love, experiences, people met along his way moved him in the profound.



I thank Reaktion Books for this book.

Anna Maria Polidori