Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hemingway is Canadian, right?

So, I know that Ernest Hemingway is not actually Canadian, but I have to read a book for my book club once a month and they never pick Canadian writers (especially not after the disastrous Mavis Gallant meeting). It is taking away from my Canadian tally, so this month, as Hemingway spent a small chunk of his career writing for the Toronto Star, I am counting him as Can-Lit. We could spend all day arguing about what counts as Can-Lit, but Hemingway mentions Canada more times in A Moveable Feast than Mistry did in A Fine Balance, so I think I am ok.

A Moveable Feast is Hemingway's memoir of early 1920s Paris, particularly of his involvement with the 'Lost Generation.' Not technically fiction (alright, this post really doesn't belong on the blog, but it is too late now), Hemingway wrote the book in the late 1950s. This puzzled me for a couple reasons: 1) He recounts exact conversations and encounters, how did he remember these? 2) Boy does he ever love his first wife, although sweet, this must have been awkward for whichever wife he was on when this was published. 3) Why did he write this book? So much of it was name dropping (Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc.). By the time he wrote it, Hemingway had won the Nobel Prize and was a very established writer- no need for name dropping.

It is an interesting read and I found myself liking Hemingway, especially his obvious affection for his family and his admiration for other writers. A small insight into the world of a foreign correspondent, struggling to become a writer. Next time I feel like an over-priced beer, I might just head to Hemingways in Yorkville and ruminate on one of our truly great writers.

Next up, I begin my Canada Reads novels, I got an email from the library today- one of them has arrived.

- Katy

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