AN UNFINISHED WOMAN by Lillian Hellman


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All I mean is that I left too much of me unfinished because I wasted too much time. However."" These are the last two lines of Lilly Hellman's (in another sense unfinished) memoir--discontinuous, made up of diary excerpts, a few portraits--but somehow just that much more alive. Incomplete too--never touching on her larger successes (The Little Foxes, etc.)--but intermittently filling in her New York and New Orleans childhood (and one fixed polarity, a nurse Sophronia); her drifting into New York publishing in the late '20's (""pretend cool"" and actually shy and touchy as she always was); the years in Hollywood, a brief marriage, and the friendships with Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Nathanael West, continuing on through the International Brigade experience and the later realization that ""rebels seldom make good revolutionaries""; trips to Russia during World War II and twenty years later; but primarily the 31 ""on and off"" years with Dashiell Hammett and the memoir closes with two unavoidably affecting portraits of Dorothy Parker and Hammett--forceful, profligate, proud. . . . Roses and thistles, and in its casual fashion, an intimate and eloquent reminiscence.

Pub Date: June 26th, 1969
Publisher: Little, Brown