Naomi Wood || Mrs. Hemingway

After having finished Mrs. Hemingway I wondered what my opinion on Hemingway himself was. I found that I differed between the author and the man. The first I read when I was very young, I can only recall not really getting The Old Man and The Sea. The man Hemingway I never cared about: a big mouth who loved war, hunting and bull fighting and drank far too much, not my cup of tea. Naomi Wood has added womanizer to these traits, a womanizer who managed to have his wifes love him forever though. Naomi Wood paints a picture of the four Mrs. Hemingway: Hadley, Fife, Martha en Mary. And through their eyes a vivid picture of their husband. Mrs. Hemingway consists of four parts, in each part a wife tells her story. The four stories have one common factor: the next Mrs. Hemingway is already in the picture. Their stories therefore are mostly about saying goodbye to the man they dearly love. In the case of Mary saying goodbye is definite: her story starts just after Hemingway has committed suicide. The four women differ enormously. Hadley is sweet, not a match for the socialite world of the roaring thirties in Europe, she loses her husband to a sparkling daring rich socialite. Fife belongs to the roaring thirties, she supports her husband financially and by editing his work. She loses him to his craving for action. He spends more and more time in Spain where a war is being fought, Martha has started accompanying him there. Martha is the career woman, a journalist and author, who does not really care for marriage let alone children. She choses her career over Hemingway and practically hands him over to Mary. She is also a journalist but dedicates her life to making Hemingway happy. She accompanies him on hunts and big fishing, she is also the one who has to take care of the drunk who suffers from depression. Through their eyes Hemingway is shown to be an incredibly charming and at the same time uncertain man who cannot live without a wife. She has to adore him, pamper him, stimulate him and cherish him, who she is does not really matter that much. Because of its set up Mrs. Hemingway is not about whether there is going to be a next mrs Hemingway, it is about how the four wifes deal with their love for the author, with their uncertainties, with saying goodbye to their husband.  And about showing the uncertain man behind the big mouth and macho. This is what makes Mrs. Hemingway special and why I loved reading it. Hemingway is still the macho, I have come to see however that he was also just a man. I’d better go to the library and give one of his novels another shot. I might appreciate him more because of Mrs.Hemingway.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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