Paul Hendrickson: Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost 1934 - 1961 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011)
Paul Hendrickson has created a dramatically well-researched picture of the life of Ernest Hemingway. He has brought in enough information on the extended - and complex - Hemingway family to give a picture of the tragedy that seemed to infuse this family. But he doesn’t stop with a tale of tragedy. He also celebrates the creative output of this remarkable writer and those who came to know him well.
When I started to read the book, I was disappointed that Hendrickson uses Hemingway’s fishing boat as a thematic focus, but he (Hendrickson) is clearly not a boat person. He seems confused about the difference between the transom and the stern. He calls the head a bathroom. He keeps referring to the “steering wheel.” He sees the flying bridge that was added to the boat as some sort of naval anomaly instead of a common feature.
Nonetheless, Hendrickson writes so well and has done his research so thoroughly that he captured my imagination and I dove right into the book. If you are a fan of Hemingway, this book might just help you understand more of this creative writer.