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With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba
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March 2018: Autobiography > With Hemingway / Arnold Samuelson - 4****

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message 1: by Book Concierge (last edited Mar 31, 2018 02:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 5815 comments With Hemingway A Year in Key West and Cuba by Arnold Samuelson
With Hemingway – Arnold Samuelson

Subtitle: A Year in Key West and Cuba

In early 1934, Arnold Samuelson hopped a freight car and managed to get all the way to Key West, FL. He was inspired by an article or short story he’d read by Ernest Hemingway. Wanting to become a writer himself, Samuelson hoped to meet Hemingway for a few minutes and get some pointers. But Hemingway surprised the young man by welcoming him onto his staff, giving him a job aboard his new boat Pilar which included room and board. Samuelson spent a year with the Hemingways, traveling to Cuba for the marlin fishing season and absorbing all he could about writing and living.

What a wonderful memoir of one young man’s extraordinary year. I can definitely see the influence of Hemingway’s style, and yet Samuelson’s writing is all his own. My experience reading this really transports me to Key West and Havana in the mid-1930s. The way in which they spoke (including some disturbing racial slurs), their cocktails, the cringe-worthy way they treated women … all point to a testosterone-fuel uber-masculine life style. Not my usual reading at all.

There are complaints in reviews about the amount of typeface given to fishing. And I agree that it was somewhat excessive. But … Samuelson writes in a way that almost made me want to take up marlin fishing! I felt the excitement of a strike, and also the sheer boredom of hours spent watching your line do nothing.

Much as was the case with Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Samuelson’s work will likely help make me a better reader. When he recounts the words of wisdom Hemingway imparted … well, it made me look at the books I’m reading differently. Drew my attention to way a sentence might be crafted, a description fleshed out (or pared down), and action conveyed.

LINK to my review

message 2: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 5797 comments Sounds like something I might enjoy reading.

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