Title: The Young Hemingway.
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing, New York
Publication Date: 1986
Edition: First Printing of the First Edition.
A Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket . This is the first volume in Reynolds' five volume Hemingway biography which greatly expands our knowledge of the writer who began carving out his mythic image at an early age. Catalog Zest. Bookseller Inventory # 21752
"The Young Hemingway will entertain and surprise. Not only is it a significant contribution to Hemingway critical biography, but it should rank as one of the best nonfiction books of the year."?Los Angeles TimesMichael Reynolds recreates the milieu that forged one of America's greatest and most influential writers. He reveals the fraught foundations of Hemingway's persona: his father's self-destructive battle with depression and his mother's fierce independence and spiritualism. He brings Hemingway through World War I, where he was frustrated by being too far away from the action and glory, despite his being wounded and nursed to health by Agnes Von Kurowsky?the older woman with whom he fell terribly in love.
Review: In this, the first volume in Michael Reynolds's five-volume biography of Ernest Hemingway, he freely mimics Papa's writing style; pastiches such as the following can test even the most persevering reader's limits:
There had been things to prove to himself. Now they were done. There had been a job to do in Toronto. Now that was done. He had done the job. He had made his own way. His stories had sold to the Toronto Star. Not the stories of Italy, but newspaper stories. The real stories all came back to him. That did not matter. He had settled the question of who he was. He was a writer. When people asked, that is what he told them. If he stuck to his story, it would become true. Now he was almost home at the lake and it was summer. He was there, in the good place. He was still free. He would try not to let anything spoil the summer.
The biographical narrative itself deals chiefly with three years of Hemingway's life, from his return home in 1919 from the First World War to his departure for Paris with his first wife, Hadley, in 1921. Along the way, Reynolds uses Hemingway's conflicts with his parents over his future as an opportunity to probe into the family's past, providing rich detail on his father's depressive condition and his mother's struggle for independence. Reynolds also provides plenty of background on Hemingway's boyhood home of Oak Park, Illinois (although a brief prologue that concerns itself chiefly with the town's politics and mores is made somewhat superfluous by re-addressing the same subjects in the main narrative). While The Young Hemingway is not the best of Reynolds's undertakings from a stylistic standpoint, and probably not the most interesting period of its subject's life, Reynolds establishes a standard for detail--and restrained psychological interpretation--that is kept up throughout the series. --Ron Hogan
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