Hotchner made his literary reputation sifting through Hemingway's poop and looking for morsels and this book is no different. Yes he traveled with HemHotchner made his literary reputation sifting through Hemingway's poop and looking for morsels and this book is no different. Yes he traveled with Hemingway extensively and was "in the room." But none of that leads to any tremendous fresh insights or new details. Most of this stuff can be read in Hemingway's own work, or in the capable biographies by writers like Michael Reynolds. This is a quick breezy read but any achievement is Hemingway's and not Hotchner's, and this book doesn't add much to the overall tapestry we know of Hemingway....more
I hope when I collapse and die in a restaurant in Rome, my mistress will be allowed to leave discreetly through the back door before the press arrivesI hope when I collapse and die in a restaurant in Rome, my mistress will be allowed to leave discreetly through the back door before the press arrives. More likely I will have a heart attack alone in an Arby's and some teenager will take a smart phone picture of my drained purplish face, smeared with Horsey Sauce, and post it to Instagram. Thus my immortality will be assured.
But I digress. I would rather have Salter assure my immortality, he writes beautifully of a thousand tiny glimpsed moments in a hundred different lives, including his own. He can even see the faint outline long after the moment has retreated deep into the muck of history.
Don't get this book at the library. Buy it. Or shoplift it. But make sure it stays on your shelf so you can frequently summon up random passages like this one. . .
"I like men who have known the best and the worst, whose life has been anything but a smooth trip. Storms have battered them, they have lain, sometimes for months on end, becalmed. There is a residue even if they fail. It has not been all tinkling; there have been grand chords."
As a book, it's a bit of a jumbly mess (although reflective of its subject, I guess.) As an accounting of a fascinating marathon run by eccentrics andAs a book, it's a bit of a jumbly mess (although reflective of its subject, I guess.) As an accounting of a fascinating marathon run by eccentrics and geniuses, it's quite entertaining. As others have said, the portrait of John Huston was fascinating, particularly how he managed to turn out classics and workmanlike films to finance his lifestyle, working within a system that Welles would / could not.
Lots of good anecdotes within, including Welles explaining why certain business dealings should be avoided. As he says, never handle shit, even while wearing gloves. The gloves get shittier but the shit never gets any glovvier....more
If you are like me, then you cannot own enough coffee table books filled with long-dead prostitutes and street criminals. But even if you are not likeIf you are like me, then you cannot own enough coffee table books filled with long-dead prostitutes and street criminals. But even if you are not like me, I recommend this book highly. Brassai was friend to Picasso and Miller and had a very creative eye as he wandered the capital of the civilized world after dark. Technically, none of these photographs are dazzling marvels and Brassai hardly invented street photography. But this is a passport to a Paris that is long vanished and never to return, and therefore essential....more
I wanted this book to be a guilty pleasure but sadly it didn't offer much of the latter. The source material (FSF's sad and desperate correspondence wI wanted this book to be a guilty pleasure but sadly it didn't offer much of the latter. The source material (FSF's sad and desperate correspondence with Harold Ober and Max Perkins and ZF) is so much better than this lazy and rewarmed fictionalization of Fitzgerald's last days, when he was holding doors open for starlets that didn't recognize him.
Plus that way you get to avoid lifeless invented dialogue with Bogarts and Hemingways, and gruesome faux-nostalgic writing like, "he thought of that last summer in Antibes, before the Crash, when Zelda was still his and anything was possible."
These reimaginings of the lives and loves of iconic authors (The Paris Wife, etc) by workmanlike, paint-by-numbers modern writers needs to stop. Please. Make it stop....more
So far, Good Reads seems to be loving this book so I guess I am going to be the one who farts in the tub on this one. An exhausting travelogue filledSo far, Good Reads seems to be loving this book so I guess I am going to be the one who farts in the tub on this one. An exhausting travelogue filled with way too many mundane detail for me (do we really care the order in which anyone arranges her toiletries or need a grocery list of which chain motels she stays in which little towns?)
Kenny is a useless man-child and isn't written in a way that illustrates why he would cast a 10 minute shadow, let alone 10 years. The author draws a vague, last minute comparison between her and Kenny and Hemingway and Agnes von Kurowsky. But Talbot is not Hemingway; many of her observations about love and loss and memory seem closer to "love means never having to say you're sorry" cliches.
There are some flashes of strong writing in this one but not enough for me to recommend it to anyone besides the "single mom with deadbeat ex" population. And maybe the adjunct professors out there who have to hustle from position to position and work like a coolie for a minimum wage....more