Fiction Ernest Hemingway True at First Light

ISBN 13: 9780099282129

True at First Light

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9780099282129: True at First Light

The book opens on the day Hemingway's close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. Passionately detailing the African landscape, the excitement of the chase, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours, Hemingway, a master of dramatic fiction, weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and insight. Written when Hemingway returned from his 1953 safari, and edited by his son Patrick, True At First Light is a rich blend of autobiography and fiction, a breathtaking final work from one of this century's most beloved and important writers.

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Review:

Ernest Hemingway's final posthumous work bears the rather awkward designation "a fictional memoir" and arrives under a cloud of controversial editing and patching--but all of that ends up being beside the point. Though this account of a 1953 safari in Kenya lacks the resolution and clarity of the best Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms) it is "real" Hemingway nonetheless. Let scholars work out where memoir leaves off and fiction begins: for the common reader, the prose alone casts an irresistible spell.

In True at First Light the glory days of the "great white hunters" are over and the Mau Mau rebellion is violently dislodging European farmers from Kenya's arable lands. But to the African gun bearers, drivers, and game scouts who run his safari in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, Hemingway remains a lordly figure--almost a god. Two parallel quests propel the narrative: Mary, Hemingway's fourth and last wife, doggedly stalks an enormous black-maned lion that she is determined to kill by Christmas, while Hemingway becomes increasingly obsessed with Debba, a beautiful young African woman. What makes the novel especially strange and compelling is that Mary knows all about Debba and accepts her as a "supplementary wife," even as she loses no opportunity to rake her husband over the coals for his drinking, lack of discipline in camp, and condescending protectiveness.

As usual with Hemingway, atmosphere and attitude are far more important than plot. Mary at one point berates her husband as a "conscience-ridden murderer," but this is precisely the moral stance that gives the hunting scenes their tension and beauty. "I was happy that before he died he had lain on the high yellow rounded mound with his tail down," Hemingway writes of "Mary's lion," "and his great paws comfortable before him and looked off across his country to the blue forest and the high white snows of the big Mountain."

Passages like these--and there are many of them--redeem the book's rambling structure and occasional lapses into self-indulgent posturing. Joan Didion dismissed True at First Light in The New Yorker as "words set down but not yet written," but this fails to acknowledge the power of these words. The value of True at First Light lies in its candor, its nakedness: it provides a rare opportunity to watch a master working his way toward art. --David Laskin

About the Author:

Ernest Miller Hemingway was born in Chicago in 1899 as the son of a doctor and the second of six children. After a stint as an ambulance driver at the Italian front, Hemingway came home to America in 1919, only to return to the battlefield - this time as a reporter on the Greco-Turkish war - in 1922. Resigning from journalism to focus on his writing instead, he moved to Paris where he renewed his earlier friendship with fellow American expatriates such as Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein. Through the years, Hemingway travelled widely and wrote avidly, becoming an internationally recognized literary master of his craft. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, following the publication of The Old Man and the Sea. He died in 1961.

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The book opens on the day Hemingway s close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. Passionately detailing the African landscape, the excitement of the chase, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours, Hemingway, a master of dramatic fiction, weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and insight. Written when Hemingway returned from his 1953 safari, and edited by his son Patrick, True At First Light is a rich blend of autobiography and fiction, a breathtaking final work from one of this century s most beloved and important writers. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282129

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The book opens on the day Hemingway s close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. Passionately detailing the African landscape, the excitement of the chase, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours, Hemingway, a master of dramatic fiction, weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and insight. Written when Hemingway returned from his 1953 safari, and edited by his son Patrick, True At First Light is a rich blend of autobiography and fiction, a breathtaking final work from one of this century s most beloved and important writers. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099282129

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Book Description Cornerstone, 2000. Book Condition: New. 2000. Paperback. Hemingway must take on his new role of leader and, of equal importance, assist his wife Mary to pursue the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. This work details the African landscape, the thrill of the hunt, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours. Num Pages: 320 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 178 x 112 x 21. Weight in Grams: 176. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099282129

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Book Description Arrow/Random House India, 2000. Softcover. Book Condition: New. The book opens on the day Hemingway`s close friend Pop, a legendary hunter, leaves him in charge of the camp. Tensions have heightened among the various tribes and news arrives of a potential attack on the hunters, forcing Hemingway not only to take on his new role of leader but, equally important, to assist his wife Mary in pursuing the great lion she is determined to kill before Christmas. Passionately detailing the African landscape, the excitement of the chase, and the heartfelt relationships with his African neighbours, Hemingway, a master of dramatic fiction, weaves a tale that is rich in laughter, beauty and insight. Printed Pages: 0. Bookseller Inventory # 71801

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