Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961

Hemingway s Boat Everything He Loved in Life and Lost From a National Book Critics Circle Award winner a brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is percei

  • Title: Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961
  • Author: Paul Hendrickson
  • ISBN: 9781400041626
  • Page: 324
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, a brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is perceived and understood.Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961 from Hemingway s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide Paul Hendrickson traces the writeFrom a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, a brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is perceived and understood.Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961 from Hemingway s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide Paul Hendrickson traces the writer s exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time his beloved boat, Pilar.We follow him from Key West to Paris, to New York, Africa, Cuba, and finally Idaho, as he wrestles with his best angels and worst demons Whenever he could, he returned to his beloved fishing cruiser, to exult in the sea, to fight the biggest fish he could find, to drink, to entertain celebrities and friends and seduce women, to be with his children But as he began to succumb to the diseases of fame, we see that Pilar was also where he cursed his critics, saw marriages and friendships dissolve, and tried, in vain, to escape his increasingly diminished capacities.Generally thought of as a great writer and an unappealing human being, Hemingway emerges here in a far benevolent light Drawing on previously unpublished material, including interviews with Hemingway s sons, Hendrickson shows that for all the writer s boorishness, depression, and alcoholism, and despite his choleric anger, he was capable of remarkable generosity to struggling writers, to lost souls, to the dying son of a friend.We see most poignantly his relationship with his youngest son, Gigi, a doctor who lived his adult life mostly as a cross dresser, and died squalidly and alone in a Miami women s jail He was the son Hemingway forsook the least, yet the one who disappointed him the most, as Gigi acted out for nearly his whole life so many of the tortured, ambiguous tensions his father felt Hendrickson s bold and beautiful book strikingly makes the case that both men were braver than we know, struggling all their lives against the complicated, powerful emotions swirling around them As Hendrickson writes, Amid so much ruin, still the beauty Hemingway s Boat is both stunningly original and deeply gripping, an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this great American writer, published fifty years after his death.

    One thought on “Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961”

    1. What a book! Hendrickson takes the quirky view that writing a (kind of) biography of Hemingway using the old man's love of his boat, the Pilar, and everything it connects him to will work. It does, in fascinating and unpredictable ways. PH writes, on every page, with an urgency that fully catches you up in his obsession. And he IS obsessed, just as much as Santiago is in "The Old Man and the Sea" to get that big fish back to shore. PH's research is not merely relentless, it is joyful, and it is [...]

    2. First impression "Hemingway's Boat" is a wonderful combination of Hemingway gossip and Hemingway writing.Unfortunately, this view was not sustained as I continued reading. After about 100 pages, my enthusiasm began to wane. There is much repetition and a confusing lack of focus. The timeline and cast of characters has become very jumbled. I have the sense the author has lost control of the material and is just pumping out everything he knows. Yet, every once in a while there is a fascinating st [...]

    3. Really enjoyed it!! The last section not so muchhitting Gregory too much,and just seemed almost tagged onbut otherwise, an engrossing, interesting readad like a novel. I highly recommend it.

    4. msarki.tumblr/post/8846556Paul Hendrickson has written a new biography of Ernest Hemingway titled Hemingway’s Boat meant to fully, if not super-fully, appreciate the "myth-swallowed" life of this man. The biography is presented in a scientific, almost astronomical, technique known as "averted vision" and is described by Hendrickson as an idea that "sometimes you can see the essence of a thing more clearly if you are not looking at it directly." In telling stories of lesser known characters inv [...]

    5. Hemingway's life has been chronicled six ways to Sunday but Paul Hendrickson takes a different tack by telling it through the angle of EH's boat, the Pilar. This means we're talking the last 27 years of Hem's life and clocking a lot of hours on the Gulf Stream.The sub-heading of the book is "Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961" and it's appropriate because EH loved life a tad more intensely than your average Joe and he got around, from the cafés of Paris to the Gulf Stream off Bimi [...]

    6. In the fifty years since Hemingway's death there have been many biographies and memoirs and I've read most of them,though I haven't had the time or energy to tackle the five volume Michael Reynolds work which I've heard is extraordinaryose that I've read range from the odious(Lynn)to the competent(Baker)to the superb(on both the man and the work,James R. Mellow)but not one has rendered the man as vividly as "Hemingway's Boat" impressionistic look at the last twenty-seven years of his life seen m [...]

    7. The silly subtitle aside, this is a compelling story not just of Hemingway and his boat but of cross-generational family tragedy that makes the Kennedy saga look like happily ever after. The divorces, the deaths by suicide, the violent arguments and frequent physical and emotional trauma left one thing clear: You wouldn’t want to be a Hemingway, not by marriage or birth. Hemingway’s Boat is not comprehensive and assumes that its readers know Hemingway’s life and work to some degree, but a [...]

    8. Certainly Hemingway has more than his share of biographers, of critical studies of his life and works, of explorations of his creative processes. Is there really a need for yet another book that digests and interprets his personal and public persona and evaluates his creative production?Paul Hendrickson’s Hemingway’s Boat is the unequivocal “yes.” Hendrickson approaches Hemingway obliquely, if you will, and, in the process, lets us see Hemingway in some different lights. It is not that h [...]

    9. Why do I love this book? So many reasons, but it comes down to this: it is honest, comprehensive and full of heart. Ernest Hemingway was such a complex man; through an exhaustive study of Pilar, as well as extensive interviews with the people who knew him—both intimately and on the periphery—Hendrickson gives you a greater sense of who he was, warts and all. You learn so much about this man through Hendrickson’s careful research and writing, whether you want to know or not, and it leaves y [...]

    10. Paul Hendrickson's wonderful book is less a traditional biography than a sort of non-clinical excavation of the author's psyche, using a wide range of sources, all manner of people who intersected with Hemingway, sometimes only briefly and using Hemingway's boat, the "Pilar", as a metaphor for the author. For example, Hendrickson comments: "No sailboats--the Hemingways were rowboaters and canoeists & stinkpotters. Sailing was a different culture. This fits with the link between the "Pilar", [...]

    11. For every book ever written by Hemingway, there are twenty that have been written about him. It is brazen and crass to believe that anyone could say anything about the man that hasn't already been said. At least, such was my feeling when I heard about this book. I dismissed it immediately as yet another exploitation of a life already picked apart by countless other scavengers. I even had to feign a smile when I opened the Christmas gift from my mother-in-law and it turned out to be a copy of Hem [...]

    12. This book was fantastic, not least because Paul Hendrickson's writing is phenomenal. He is a master researcher, leaves no facts out, and when you find yourself reading a detail you think is superfluous he immediately makes you realize its importance to the overall message of the book. Picked this up in England (with a much better cover, blue - look it up :) ) and it is definitely a big book, but do not be intimidated (as I maybe was at first). I could not put it down. I found myself forcing peri [...]

    13. If there is enough Papa scholarship-which is what Hemingway’s Boat, Paul Hendrickson’s non fiction book, aims to be-to fill a small public library, then lot of shelves would be redundant. There would be no decimal system but wood carved signs splattered in red paint, with disclaimers beneath them that they were written in blood. There would be a “Tragic Artist Madlib ” section ( Carlos Baker, Michael Reynolds, twice), a “Glorified Macho Excursion” section ( Nick Lyons, and sadly, Mic [...]

    14. The reason for the 3 stars is that this novel jumped all over the place. It was supposed to be from 1934 to 1961 when Hemingway comminted suicide. He spent plenty of time on Hemingway's childhood. Also, at the beginning there was so much talk about the boat he ordered, where it was built, how they built it, what Hemmingway wanted to add to the boat, etc. Of course, we had to hear about the fishing instuments, where they were made and the different types of lines he used. It was starting to bore [...]

    15. How can you not want to know more about a guy who described himself as follows:"Look, I'm 35, I've had a damned fine life, have had every woman I ever wanted, have bred good kids, have seen everything I believe in royally fucked to hell, have been wounded many times, got over all wish for glory or a career before I was 20, have always made a living in all times, staked my friends, written 3 books of stories, 2 novels, a comic book and one fairly exhaustive treatise and every chickenshit prick wh [...]

    16. “You know you love the sea and would not be anywhere else…She is just there and the wind moves her and the current moves her and they fight on her surface but down below none of it matters.”That’s a segment from Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream, repeated in this book on pages 457 and 458, and it sums up Hendrickson’s view of the great American writer. The author’s project here, built somewhat waveringly about his boat, Pilar, is to depict, not the superficial man – the writer, t [...]

    17. I have never been an admirer of Ernest Hemingway. I read A Farewell to Arms in high school (as assignment), consigned him to the ranks of authors I didn't care to read again, and never gave him another thought until my various book clubs decided to read The Sun Also Rises, A Moveable Feast and The Paris Wife, all in the same year, and then there was Midnight in Paris My curiosity was piqued. This 20-year-old Hemingway in Paris with his tomboy wife was not the boorish he-man I had expected. He lo [...]

    18. This book is a huge disappointment on more than one level.It promised to be one of those rare (and getting rarer)books into which I could sink for days or even weeks. Unfortunately I was disabused of that notion very quickly.The idea is good, to explore Hemingway through the ownership of Pilar, his boat but it all falls apart after that.The book is confusing and fuzzy. The author seems to be operating in opposition to the adage that less is more and repeats himself, well, repeatedly. It meanders [...]

    19. “I remember all these things happening and all the places we lived in and the fine times and the bad times we had in that year,” he once said. “But much more vividly I remember living in the book and making up what happened in it every day. Making the country and the people and the things that happened I was happier than I had ever been.” Living in that book, making the country, a man still so young had written a passage so immortal as this, about a retreat from a place called Caporetto: [...]

    20. I recently finished this wonderful book by Paul Hendrickson, and thought I'd give it a shout-out here. It's superbly written, excellently researched and one of the best books I've read in years. This isn't a full-on adventure story of fishing for marlin in the Gulf Stream, though there is some of that. The book traces from 1934 to 1961 Hemingway's joys and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar. The boat was a stock 38-foot twin cabin cruiser made b [...]

    21. When I saw this book on a new non-fiction shelf at the library, I couldn't help but be a little curious. Nearly two weeks later, I'm finally through it.Paul Hendrickson's biography of Ernest Hemingway is as much about EH as it is about his boat, Pilar. Hendrickson has gone a bit further in his research than some other biographers, mainly by digging further into the back stories of some of the people who entered in and out of Hemingway's life. It is evident that this was a labor love for Hendrick [...]

    22. Does the world need another Hemingway biography. God no. But this isn't a Hemingway biography. This was far better. I found and read this mostly by accident, and I'm so happy I found it. A really unique and cool structure. You do need baseline Hem knowledge before going into this. But if you know the basic stories and myths, then this book will come to life. As much as it is a biography, it's a bio of several things other than Hem the person: of his boat, Pillar; fascinatingly, of some odd and f [...]

    23. The author has a captivating thesis and purpose: Hemingway's "fishing machine" and the time he spent on it coincided with a change in writing style, and the Pilar should be as closely associated with the author as Babe Ruth was with his Louisville Slugger. That being said, this is one big chunk of detailed and discursive biography and not all of it serves Hendrickson's thesis and purpose. Hendrickson tells several lengthy stories about people who knew Hemingway; these stories slowed down the pac [...]

    24. Pilar was the name of Ernest Hemingway's beloved boat and Paul Hendickson organizes his biography of Hemingway during the years 1934 when he was considered one of the kings of American literature until his suicide in 1961 around her. It was on Pilar that Hemingway went to fish, to drink, to entertain, and to be with his children. He also retreated to the Pilar in the bad times--when he was being savaged by critics, when his marriages were deteriorating, and when he saw his creativity draining aw [...]

    25. An incredibly good read! So well written. If you are a Hemingway fan or just want to know more about the tangled, troubled, gifted life of this man, I heartily recommend it! From :Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961—from Hemingway’s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide—Paul Hendrickson traces the writer's exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar.Drawing on previously unpublished material, includin [...]

    26. This book is a remarkable achievement. Despite the surfeit of Hemingway biographies, the author manages to make the material seem fresh and new by taking oblique angles of the story and expanding on them.I love much of what Hemingway wrote and, after reading this book and learning of the many parallels between fact and fiction, I appreciate Hemingway's work in a different, richer way. The author's penchant for detail and accuracy is remarkable. Seem of the more psycho-analytical perspectives and [...]

    27. I have read most of Hemingway’s fiction. Not all of it, but most of it. I love his writing. At its best it may be the best writing in America in the 20th Century. But even though I have read most of his writing I didn’t know that much about him as a person. I knew the public persona, the tough guy big-game-hunting Cuba and Key West living drinking ambulance driving fisherman. But I had never read a biography of him. Still haven’t. I did though just finish Hemingway’s Boat, Everything He [...]

    28. Like most biographies, this is too long and full of details the reader could care less about with some sections more appropriate for a master's thesis. That said, there were parts that were really enjoyable. If only editors would do their jobs! Somebody should've told Paul that although the story of a kid who spent a year on Hemingway's boat at age 20 is relevant, the relevancy stops as soon as he leaves the boat. The story of the rest of his 45 years, in which he never saw Ernest again, is of n [...]

    29. I have read all of Hemingway's work, three biographies, various memoirs, but this is the most interesting book on Hemingway I've read. It isn't really a biography, and isn't meant as one, but it basically covers his whole life, though it ostensibly begins when he bought his bought his boat Pilar. Hendrickson is content to follow some interesting byways, including the lives of various people who only knew Hemingway briefly. What I love most about this book is that, while it doesn't neglect Heming [...]

    30. 3.5 stars. The first half is fantastic and it makes the book worth-checking out. Especially the sections, where the writer focuses on Hemingway's years in Key West and fishing expeditions makes the book extremely valuable for Hemingway (and fishing) nerds. Yet I do not know why, but after wonderful sets of stories on the conditions in which Hemingway produced the Green Hills of Africa in his Florida home, Hendrickson fasts-forward to early 1950s skipping his third marriage and more importantly h [...]

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