A generally well-written narrative covering the less-frequently chartered years during which Hemingway first displayed...


Mooers (J.P., 2013, etc.) returns to historical fiction, this time following 19-year-old Ernest Hemingway, who comes home from war and struggles to readjust to life in the civilian world.

Working from a plethora of sources, including some Hemingway anthologies, Mooers reconstructs day-to-day details of the two years between Hemingway’s return to Oak Park, Illinois, after having been seriously injured in World War I, and his departure for Paris, where he would eventually become part of the Left Bank expat crowd of artists and writers. Still in pain from the leg injury he suffered while working as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, he came home with many of the 277 shell fragments embedded in his leg and groin, still “working their way up to the surface.” He also experienced frequent flashback memories of the explosion that almost cost him his life. Today, we might say he had PTSD. On top of this, he received a breakup letter from Agnes von Kurowsky, the nurse who tended to him in Italy and then became his lover. Depressed and rudderless, young Hemingway decided to devote himself primarily to fishing the rivers and streams of Walloon Lake near Petoskey, Michigan, site of their family summer home, christened Windemere by his mother. Encircled by a coterie of devoted friends, among whom he was a star, he regained his confidence (some might say arrogance) and embraced his status as a local war hero and fledgling writer. An adept stylistic chameleon, Mooers often approximates the cadence made famous by his subject. By Mooers’ own admission, there are “parts where I use the actual words spoken, the actual words written, or the actual scene as it happened,” so the text—with help from its 26-title bibliography, sans citations—becomes a sort of treasure hunt for Hemingway devotees looking to uncover the verifiable quotations. For the rest of us, it’s simply a solid story that conveys the uncertainties and the contrasting hubris of a young man wracked by memories of the war while on the cusp of a phenomenal literary career.

A generally well-written narrative covering the less-frequently chartered years during which Hemingway first displayed flashes of the man he’d become.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0988648685

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Riverrun

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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