Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy birthday, Hemingway!

A very happy 113th birthday to one of America's most celebrated icons, and one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway is one of those names that I grew up just knowing. Admittedly, I did not read any of Hemingway's work until I was in college, but I had always known of him - a courageous, rugged, globe-trotting hunter. A spy. A war hero. An adventurer...a man's man. As an impressionable young buck, this larger-than-life character appealed to me, so I began to explore the Hemingway library. Much to my surprise, the piece that I ended up enjoying the most - the book that I now keep a copy of wherever I go - represents the opposite of the macho Hemingway persona that I had come to venerate: A Moveable Feast.

A Moveable Feast is the collection of Hemingway's memoirs of his time spent in 1920's Paris. It is a rare glimpse of the man as a young, contagiously enthusiastic author experimenting with his craft. There are no rugged heroes, no stiff dialogue; just a lean, romantic, and genuine account of Hemingway's experiences with love and life. My favorite passages are those in which he enchantingly describes food and drink, such as:

" I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans..."

Pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, or a cold glass of wine, and treat yourself to Ernest Hemingway's final triumph.



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