WALK ON WATER by Lorian Hemingway


A Memoir
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In this raw, to-hell-and-back memoir the enormously talented granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway describes, among other things, how she has fished some of the waters—Key West, the Big Two-Hearted River—her grandfather loved, and battled the same self-destructive alcoholism that haunted him. Hemingway’s often hard life formed the framework for her first novel, Walking Into the River (1992). Like the protagonist in that tale, she had a drunken, dissolute mother and an abusive stepfather, a man she despised. Aunt Freda, the family member she is closest to, once even took a shot at him. Hemingway describes herself as a “dark child,” one adults regarded “as they would a rabid Chihuahua.” She had a penchant for eating anything from night crawlers to river mud. Her parents divorced when she was six. A rebellious teenager, she ran away and secretly contacted her father, Gregory. Ernest Hemingway’s youngest son suffered severe depression and, as she discovered, “liked to dress in women’s clothes.” By early adulthood, Hemingway had done jail time, been “raped and dumped in a backwoods in Georgia,” spent time in drug rehab, sold drugs, stolen cars, and ridden “with baby-eating bikers.” She married and had a child in the 1970s, but drinking—and her obsession with fishing—would continue to plague her. Deep-sea fishing became a passion, and in 1980 she founded a tournament in Key West. A “bombastic, conscience-free, ego-driven alcoholic,” she would fish the Big Two-Hearted River on assignment for a magazine but, as often happened, her drinking nearly ruined the trip. A feisty, dying Aunt Freda offered her a freezerful of home-grown, medicinal marijuana, not to smoke but to sell so that she could pay for treatment for her alcoholism. Hemingway’s brief but harrowing description of her stay in a detoxification center in January 1988 and her joy at “being free” of the addiction climaxes this frank, powerful memoir.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-684-82255-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998


NonfictionA WORLD TURNED OVER by Lorian Hemingway
by Lorian Hemingway
FictionWALKING INTO THE RIVER by Lorian Hemingway
by Lorian Hemingway