Hemingway in and the WSJ.

buffalo with hemingway

It isnt easy being human: It wasnt easy being Hemingway; it wasnt easy being his wives (for whom it is easy?) being his children; it was bad being a grandaughter(s). Margaux killed herself. Hemingway impacted  generations worldwide  by his, mostly, “global writing”: toreros, the spanish civil war,  killing beasts in africa, the old man and the sea, the shark, the sailfish,  all had an inordinate impact in english speaking  writers that otherwise would have remained invisible. How tough was being Gregory Hemingway? I would say incommensurably and unknowable: fathered eight children as a functional man  and dying as a woman in jail? Life is larger than any fiction.

The Hemingway saga is simply cosmic. Ignore his life when reviewing his oeuvre and you are in trouble. Impossible to avoid this tragic grid overimposed on his daily life. Mr. Jeffrey Meyers, at the WSJ today, Thursday 30 June,  (whose achievement seems to have been writing a …Hemingway biography….and also a Huston biography and other unimportant bs biographies):  “he-Hemingway- was an uneven writer, but wrote at least (at least, mind you) one great work in every decade of his career’. 

 Mr Meyers: Writers dont have careers : they write, they kill themselves. And they leave writings to be enjoyed and devoured and re read and recried. Unless you became a “writer” in creative writing in college.

However, he concludes: “Most modern US writers…, are now mostly forgotten. Hemingway along with Fitzgerald and Faulkner provides the literary gold…”

 You gotta be fucking kiddin me: I grew up in Chile and read plenty of american writers, not to say british and scottish and welsh and irish…. some in english, some in spanish, some in french. They were considered lesser writers relative to the worlds’ writers: european, India, africa, arab countries, russian (what a drag) and everybody else that we read biased by our own parochialism. But to say everybody else  as USA writers is forgotten? I doubt it. For me, Fitzgerald is mostly a bore and Faulkner, well, a great writer. What about the rest? Jerzy Kosinski, a world hero! (not really) Philip Roth,  a genius, Wolfe?: on account of “Sorry, your soul just died” essay, deserves its own place as a top seeded. Updike, Plath, even Mailer. Henry Miller, not to acknowledge JD Salingers’ catcher is a sin. And I am just streaming. We all have biases, but Mr Jeffreys is unaccountable.

Even though, this review of Hemingways “achievements” is somehow balanced, I feel as always that critics’ focus is misplaced. What do we have today?: Foster Wallace dead and Franzen striving to grow his penis and make literary history.

A well read WSJ client agrees with my view of Mr Jeffreys’ comments in todays’ paper.


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