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Publisher's Summary

A revelatory look into the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, considered in his time to be the greatest living American novelist and short story writer, winner of the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

Mary Dearborn's new biography gives the richest and most nuanced portrait to date of this complex, enigmatically unique American artist, whose same uncontrollable demons that inspired and drove him throughout his life undid him at the end and whose seven novels and six short story collections informed - and are still informing - fiction writing generations after his death.

©2017 Mary V. Dearborn (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fine book undermined by performance

Would you consider the audio edition of Ernest Hemingway to be better than the print version?

In no way. The audio does the printed book a disservice.

Would you be willing to try another one of Tanya Eby’s performances?

Dearborn's work is very fine, as is her work on Mailer, Miller, etc. but unfortunately the spoken performance of this book has an almost patronizing tone: every aside or clause is overemphasized, and in several cases the inflection is just 'off' and doesn't sit well with the text. It sounds a little like Siri, or the flattened but forced affect of a computer reading. It's prim. Listening to Dearborn herself talk is lively, incisive. Not so with this performance, which I started to think was done by a 'bot'.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Highly Flawed Human Being

This book made me appreciate EH far less than I ever have before. His overhyped history will never never sound the same again. If as a human you are perhaps GREAT at something, do you get a pass on most of the rest of your life? Before listening to this biography, I had a Hemingway quotation hanging on the wall of my office. It has since been removed.

Read at your own risk...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting biography and great narration

The narrator does a excellent job, one of the best I have listened to. The biography is very interesting but has a few holes and places that I wish she would have explained better.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Detailed codified report of Papa's incredible life

While this book has been informative and interesting, it was difficult for me to get totally threw the 33 lengthy chapters due to the incredible details of Hemingway's life. It would be the perfect source 4 a screenwriter Desiring to right I scrapped on Hemingway's life.
I would have preferred an Abridged version that would have answered my curiosity about his life, but I'm glad I listened to the whole book. Sad that his life ended as it did as well as the lies of some of his siblings and sons.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The last of a man's man.

Would you listen to Ernest Hemingway again? Why?

Yes. He interests me as a writer and a person and this book does present a fair amount of information.

What did you like best about this story?

Learning more about the man, the myth and the legend. Shows warts as well as praises.

What does Tanya Eby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Emotion.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laughed at the funny parts and felt sad as his depression started taking over his life.

Any additional comments?

I am not sure if Mary Dearborn is showing a feminine bias or a historical bias but there are several points in the book I felt that she did not understand the behavior of the American male in that time period when viewing him with her present day eyes. By today's standards Hemingway was a bully and a bore, but in the context of the age he lived in - he was not. His treatment of his wives came off one sided. She comes off as confused as Earnest may have been about his sexuality. His mother was in any age a "whack" job and would have confused anybody. But Mary Dearborn shows great understanding and empathy concerning the battle he had with depression. All in all she has written a good book on the greatest of American writers in the 20th. century.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

There's no one thing that's true. It's all true.

Hemingway's version of "truth" draws a lot from the line in the film "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance": "When legend becomes fact, print the legend." He was inventing his own mythology before he was even out of his teens, transforming a one-week stint as a Red Cross ambulance driver in World War I into a enlistment in the Italian Army serving in the elite special forces of the Arditi Corps. Another 40+ years of tale-spinning to friends and journalists and the blurred crossover of non-fiction into fiction in many of the short stories and novels complicates the task of all the subsequent biographers.

Mary Dearborn unravels as much as can be currently done using the latest pieces of the puzzle that are gradually being unveiled to us through various studies (e.g. those such as "Ernest Hemingway's a Moveable Feast" that examine the veracity of "A Moveable Feast", the ongoing and continuing Letters project (Volume 4 of 17 to be published as of September 2017) and the recent memoirs and biographies that have focussed on specialized topics and themes e.g. "Hemingway in Love: His Own Story", "Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961", "The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War", "Unbelievable Happiness and Final Sorrow: The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Marriage", "Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway's Secret Adventures, 1935-1961".

Dearborn does especially draw attention to Hemingway's androgynous hair fetish, the love-hate relationship with youngest son Gregory (Gigi) Hemingway (who later transgendered into Gloria) and the final sad years of mental illness which may have been triggered as early as the concussion injury sustained in a World War II London car crash. Much of what was written post-WWII was never published at the time and some of it only in posthumous heavily edited forms such as the gender bending "The Garden of Eden" (probably too risque for both its late 40's writing time and the author's marketed image) and the various edited versions of the final African journey "True At First Light: A Fictional Memoir" and "Under Kilimanjaro". The ongoing Hemingway Library Edition may yet show us more of those unknowns as well although the story seems to be never-ending. Whatever questions fascinate you about this one person's life can likely never be fully answered and the journey itself becomes the goal. In that I see Hemingway as a stand-in for all humankind. Even with all of this ongoing documentation he is still a mystery and the subject of endless curiousity for us.

I read "Ernest Hemingway" in hardcover by Mary V.. Dearborn in parallel with the audiobook edition narrated by Tanya Eby. The narration was excellent and clear and well-paced.

#ThereIsAlwaysOne
Erratum
pg. 428 in the print edition "...the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1941."
As most with a heritage from the Baltic States or Eastern Europe will know, the Hitler-Stalin Pact actually dates from August 22, 1939.

Trivia
Great use of a "Crook Factory"/"Operation Friendless"/"Hooligan Navy" image as the cover photo. The second use of this one I believe cf. "The Crook Factory" by Dan Simmons.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Not very interesting to me

Would you try another book from Mary V. Dearborn and/or Tanya Eby?

Lost me early on. waste of money. Not very interesting to me. Not recommended

What do you think your next listen will be?

Looking at other writing by/about Hemingway

Would you be willing to try another one of Tanya Eby’s performances?

Not for me

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

lack of interest

Any additional comments?

My mistake ;-(

0 of 9 people found this review helpful